A History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life

Book - 2017
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"This book is a history of the afterlife of Mackenzie King in print and in Canadian culture. When King died in 1950 little was known publicly about his eccentric private life; King's final will declared that his voluminous diary should be destroyed and its contents were carefully guarded during the research and writing of his official biography. Yet twenty five years later, his diaries were publicly available and King's private life was the subject of energetic media discussion, including coverage of CP Stacey's A Very Double Life: The Private World of Mackenzie King, the republication of H S Ferns and Bernard Ostry's The Age of Mackenzie King: Rise of the Leader, and the appearance of the third volume of the official biography by H. Blair Neatby. King increasingly came to be known in public as Weird Willie, the prime minister who communed with ghosts and cavorted with prostitutes. This book tells the story of this change and what it reveals about public attitudes towards politicians. It does so in part through detailed archival research into the specific decisions of Mackenzie King's literary executors along with close textual analysis of writing about and reporting on Mackenzie King. It also reads this story against the context of the cultural changes of the long 1960s and changing attitudes towards privacy, secrecy, morality, individualism and the rights revolution. The increasingly irreverent approach to Mackenzie King, the book argues, can be explained by the rise of a therapeutic culture of the self that increasingly based truth claims in individual experience, authenticity, and rights. In other words, the Weird Willie phenomenon is a microcosm of a fundamental historical transformation: the end of the era of the statesman."--
Publisher: Montreal :, McGill-Queen's University Press,, 2017
ISBN: 9780773548763
Characteristics: xxii, 326 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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