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Morley Callaghan Biography,Career, and Novels

Morley Callaghan Biography

Morley Edward Callaghan, CC OOnt FRSC was a Canadian novelist, short story writer, playwright, and TV and radio personality.Callaghan was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He was educated at Withrow PS, Riverdale Collegiate Institute, the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School. He articled and was called to the Bar, but did not practice law.

Morley Callaghan Career

He worked at the Toronto Daily Star where he became friends with fellow reporter Ernest Hemingway, formerly of The Kansas City Star,during the 1920s. Callaghan began writing stories that were well received and soon was recognized as one of the best short story writers of the day. In 1929 he spent some months in Paris, where he was part of the great gathering of writers in Montparnasse that included Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce.

He recalled this time in his 1963 memoir, That Summer in Paris. In the book, he discusses the infamous boxing match between himself and Hemingway wherein Callaghan took up Hemingway’s challenge to a bout. While in Paris, the pair had been regular sparring partners at the American Club of Paris. Being a better boxer, Callaghan knocked Hemingway to the mat. The blame was centred on referee F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lack of attention on the stopwatch as he let the boxing round go past its regulation three minutes. An infuriated Hemingway was angry at Fitzgerald; Hemingway and Fitzgerald had an often caustic relationship and Hemingway was convinced that Fitzgerald let the round go longer than normal in order to see Hemingway humiliated by Callaghan.

Whether this boxing match ever took place is a matter of conjecture, but it is certain that it could not have taken place at the American Club of Paris; since its founding in 1904, the American Club of Paris has never had a clubhouse, so it would have been impossible for the fight to have taken place there. If the fight did happen, it could possibly have been at Pershing Hall on the rue Pierre Charron, also known at the time as the American Soldiers and Sailors Club. A more likely candidate, however, is the basement of the United States Students’ and Artists’ Club on the boulevard Raspail in the Montparnasse area, much closer to where both Callaghan and Hemingway lived.

Callaghan’s novels and short stories are marked by undertones of Roman Catholicism, often focusing on individuals whose essential characteristic is a strong but often weakened sense of self. His first novel was Strange Fugitive (1928); a number of short stories, novellas and novels followed. Callaghan published little between 1937 and 1950 – an artistically dry period. However, during these years, many non-fiction articles were written in various periodicals such as New World (Toronto), and National Home Monthly. Luke Baldwin’s Vow, a slim novel about a boy and his dog, was originally published in a 1947 edition of Saturday Evening Post and soon became a juvenile classic read in school rooms around the world.

The Loved and the Lost (1951) won the Governor General’s Award. Callaghan’s later works include, among others, The Many Colored Coat (1960), A Passion in Rome (1961), A Fine and Private Place (1975), A Time for Judas (1983), Our Lady of the Snows (1985). His last novel was A Wild Old Man Down the Road (1988). Publications of short stories have appeared in The Lost and Found Stories of Morley Callaghan (1985), and in The New Yorker Stories (2001). The four-volume The Complete Stories (2003) collects for the first time 90 of his stories.

Morley Callaghan Novels

  1. Strange Fugitive – 1928
  2. It’s Never Over – 1930
  3. A Broken Journey – 1932
  4. Such Is My Beloved – 1934
  5. They Shall Inherit the Earth – 1935
  6. More Joy in Heaven – 1937
  7. The Loved and the Lost – 1951
  8. The Many Colored Coat – 1960
  9. A Passion in Rome – 1961
  10. A Fine and Private Place – 1975
  11. A Time for Judas – 1983
  12. Our Lady of the Snows – 1985
  13. A Wild Old Man on the Road – 1988


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