Kay Burns and David Eso’s edition of Leo Ferrari’s The Earth Is Flat! introduces us to a long-forgotten satirical work, which, in an age of fake news, possesses renewed relevance. Ferrari, a philosopher by training, draws on his extensive knowledge of classical thought to present a history of ideas that is sometimes accurate, but more frequently speculative. He traces the conflict between “Globularist” and “Planoterrestrial” beliefs from antiquity to his contemporary moment of the early 1970s. He also charts the tongue-in-cheek activities of the Flat Earth Society of Canada, which he co-founded in 1970 with celebrated authors Alden Nowlan and Raymond Fraser. Other notable members included literary luminaries Al Pittman, Farley Mowat, Gwendolyn MacEwen, and Patrick Lane. The author blurs the line between seriousness and humour in the interests of exploring philosophical concepts such as the nature of belief and the implications of technological modernity.
About the authors
Leo C. Ferrari taught in the Philosophy Department of St. Thomas University from 1961 (in Chatham) to 1995. He wrote poetry, published extensively on human rights, and was an authority on St. Augustine of Hippo. With UNB colleagues in Computer Science and Classics, he published a two-volume concordance to Augustine's "Confessions" (Olms-Weidmann, 1991(. With his wife, Lorna Drew, he published Different Minds: Living with Alzheimer Disease (Goose Lane, 2005). He was co-founder and long-serving president of the Flat Earth Society; in 1995, he donated archival materials concerning the Society to the Harriet Irving Library.
Artist Kay Burns has included concepts of the Flat Earth within her art practice since 2001. As part of that she created the Museum of the Flat Earth, situated at one of the corners of the earth on Fogo Island, Newfoundland; the Museum also oversees the current Flat Earth Society of Canada.
David Eso's work as scholar, poet, anthologist, and impresario unites Canadian literary heritage with its impending renaissance. Eso has appeared in Filling Station, CV2, Strangers in Paris, Canadian Literature, Arc, Freefall, Vallum, Under the Mulberry Tree, the Globe and Mail, and on CBC. His chapbooks include Entries from My Affair with an Escape Artist (2003), A Wide Path to the Narrowing Future (2010) and Asiarific (2014). As a familiar face at literary readings across Canada, Charles Noble calls Eso "a force of nature and force of culture." Eso is currently a graduate student at the University of Calgary where he is studying the letters of Robert Kroetsch.