The Argus-eyed editor; the magisterial prose stylist; the waggish, inflammatory cultural critic; the mentor and iconoclast. John Metcalf is a literary legend whose memoir maps the underground he labored tirelessly to establish.
Praise for John Metcalf
“John Metcalf often comes as close to the baffling, painful comedy of human experience as a writer can get … he has written some of the very best stories ever published in this country.”—Alice Munro
“Generous, hectoring, huge and remarkable.”—Washington Post
“As an editor, teacher, author, critic, and pioneering anthologist of Canadian fiction, Metcalf was in the front ranks of writers and intellectuals who transformed the term Canadian writer from oxymoron to viable reality.”—Quill & Quire
“A comic writer, a satirist and a sensitive recorder of human passion.”—Russell Smith
“John Metcalf is still writing with the same élan that animates almost every line of his distinguished oeuvre… [his memoir] is obligatory reading for anyone who cares about aesthetic vitality, the state of the nation’s literature and the essential importance of very good sentences. It is also a moving record of time past, a shimmering and often comic account of recent travels, and—Metcalf being Metcalf—a sometimes prickly if not intemperate j’accuse.”—Globe & Mail
“The British-born novelist and editor is legendary in bookish circles for his blunt honesty, cherished and reviled alike for his willingness to express strong and unpopular opinions… An Aesthetic Underground vindicates Metcalf’s long service as the troublesome conscience of Canadian culture.”—Jeet Heer, Toro