E.J. Pratt: The Truant Years 1882-1927
E.J. Pratt (1882-1964) is generally recognized as the leading Canadian poet of his generation. Moreover, as Marshall McLuhan observed in1958, Pratt was, in his personal and social life, ‘a one-man creator of a climate for the arts and letters in Canada.’
The Truant Years covers the first forty-five years of a full and eventful life. It provides an intimate account of life in the Newfoundland outports where Pratt grew up as a sensitive boy in the family of a nomadic Methodist preacher. It describes his leaving school and home at age fifteen to spend three fruitless years working in St. John’s; his return to school and reluctant enlistment in the Methodist ministry; and, after many adventures and misadventures, his arrival in Toronto to attend university and eventually to make a permanent home there.
‘Ned’ Pratt found his place at last in the practice of poetry and in the teaching of literature at Victoria College in the University of Toronto. With the publication of The Witches Brew and Titans in 1926, he achieved both national acclaim as the premier new poet of Canada and international recognition as one of the best narrative poets of all time.