Sparshott, Francis Edward
Francis Edward Sparshott, professor of philosophy, poet (b at Chatham, Eng 19 May 1926). Sparshott is Canada's leading philosopher of the arts (aesthetics) with an international reputation among scholars. His philosophy career started at the University of Toronto in 1950 and continues at Victoria College, U of T, where he retired as full university professor (1991). He has written 9 major works in philosophy on themes of ethics and aesthetics. Since retirement he has published a book on Aristotle, Taking Life Seriously, U of T (1994), and a book on dance, A Measured Pace, U of T (1995). His journal articles and book chapters are prolific.
Sparshott has also published 10 books of poetry. Poetry and philosophy, for Sparshott, both seek "to discover connections that are not evident." Words give us a picture that cannot be seen, or an idea that can in no other way be expressed. Sparshott's metaphysical poem, The Cave of Trophonius,won the CBC poetry award in 1981. He aspires to write a "drier sort of Horace," and though many poems are dark and brooding, others are witty and comically poignant, as are his famous footnotes in his philosophy books. His one comic novel, A Book (1970), is a 36-page parody of Canadian culture.