Morley Callaghan

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Morley Edward Callaghan (February 22, 1903August 25, 1990) was a Canadian novelist, short story writer, playwright, TV and radio personality.

Callaghan was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He was educated at the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School. He never practiced law, however. During the 1920s he worked at the Toronto Daily Star where he became friends with fellow reporter, Ernest Hemingway formerly of the Kansas City Star. Callaghan began writing stories that were well received and soon was recognized as one of the best short story writers of the day. He then spent a couple of creative years in Paris, France in the late 1920s where he was part of the great gathering of writers in Montparnasse such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and others.

He recalled these years in his 1963 memoir, That Summer in Paris. In this memoir he discusses the infamous boxing match between him and Hemingway. Callaghan took up Hemingway's challenge to a bout and, being a better boxer, Callaghan knocked Hemingway to the ground (along with his ego). The blame was centered on Fitzgerald's lack of attention on the stop watch as he let the boxing round go over time. This event injured the pride of Hemingway more than anything else.

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 novels were Strange Fugitive (1928), a number of short stories followed in A Native Argosy (1929), A Broken Journey (1932) and Such Is My Beloved (1934). 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, about a boy and his dog, was originally published in the Saturday Evening Post in (1947) and would soon become a juvenile classic read in school rooms around the world. The Loved and the Lost (1951) is considered by many to be his masterpiece among many fine imaginative novels for which he won the Governor General's Award. Callaghan's later works include The Many Colored Coat (1960), A Passion in Rome (1961), Stories (1967), A Fine and Private Place (1975), A Time for Judas (1983), Our Lady of the Snows (1985) and his last novel, 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 latest work Morley Callaghan: The Complete Short Stories Two Volumes (2003) gathers for the first time '90 stories that authenticate Edmund Wilson's comparison of Callaghan to Ivan Turgenev and Anton Chekhov.'

Callaghan was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal in 1960. In 1982 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Callaghan married Loretto Dee, with whom he had two sons: Michael (born November 1931) and Barry (born 1937), poet and author. In (1998) Barry Callaghan wrote a memoir entitled Barrelhouse Kings about his family's writerly life. After outliving and outwriting most of the contemporary writers of his day Morley Edward Callaghan died after a brief illness in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was 87.

Morley Callaghan was the subject of a CBC documentary, Life & Times episode, and CBC mini-series, Hemingway Vs. Callaghan in March 2003.



Also author of the play Just Ask George, 1940. Contributor to Sixteen by Twelve: Short Stories by Canadian Writers, edited by John Metcalf, Ryerson (Toronto), 1970. Also contributor of The New Yorker, Harper's Bazaar, Maclean's, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, Yale Review, New World, Performing Arts in Canada, and Twentieth Century Literature.

Media Adaptations: Now That April's Here was adapted for film by Klenman-Davidson Productions, 1958.

Further reading


  • Boire, Gary A., Morley Callaghan and His Works, General Distribution Services, 1990.
  • Boire, Morley Callaghan: Literary Anarchist, ECW Press (Toronto), 1994.
  • Sutherland, Fraser, The Syle of Innocence, 1972.
  • Cameron, Donald, Conversations with Canadian Novelists, Part Two, Macmillan (Toronto), 1973.
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale, Volume 3, 1975; Volume 14, 1980; Volume 41, 1987; Volume 65, 1991.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 68: Canadian Writers, 1920-1959, First Series, Gale, 1988.
  • Morley, Patricia, Morley Callaghan, McClelland & Stewart, 1978.
  • Orange, John, Orpheus in Winter: Morley Callaghan's The Loved and the Lost, ECW Press, 1993.
  • Wilson, Edmund, O Canada, Farrar, Straus, 1965.
  • Woodcock, George, Moral Predicament: Morley Callaghan's More Joy in Heaven, ECW Press, 1993.


  • Books in Canada, April, 1986, pp. 32-3.
  • Canadian Forum, March, 1960; February, 1968.
  • Canadian Literature, summer, 1964; winter, 1984, pp. 66-9; autumn, 1990, pp. 148-49.
  • Dalhousie Review, autumn, 1959.
  • Essays on Canadian Writing, winter, 1984-85, pp. 309- 15; summer, 1990, pp. 16-20.
  • Form and Century, April, 1934.
  • New Republic, February 9, 1963.
  • New Yorker, November 26, 1960.
  • Queen's Quarterly, autumn, 1957; autumn, 1989, pp. 717-19.
  • Saturday Night, October, 1983, pp. 73-4.
  • Tamarack Review, winter, 1962.

Further readings source: Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2001, in database: Contemporary Authors.

External link


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