The CBC Massey Lectures, Canada's preeminent public lecture series, are for many of us a highly anticipated annual feast of ideas. However, some of the finest lectures, by some of the greatest minds of modern times, have been lost for many years -- unavailable to the public in any form.
Important thinkers whose Massey Lectures are lamentably out of print include the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., John Kenneth Galbraith, Jane Jacobs, Paul Goodman, and Eric Kierans. Each of these lecturers spoke on a subject at the heart of their intellectual and spiritual concerns -- King on race and prejudice, Galbraith on economics and poverty, Jacobs on Canadian cities and Quebec separatism, Goodman on the moral ambiguity of America, Kierans on globalism and the nation-state -- and their words are not only of considerable historical significance but remain hugely relevant to the problems we face today. At last, a selection of these lost lectures is available to a world so hungry for, and yet in such short supply of, innovative ideas.
The Lost Massey Lectures includes an introduction by Bernie Lucht, who has been the executive producer of CBC Radio's Ideas and the Massey Lectures since 1984.
About the Author
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was a Canadian-born American economist, public servant, and writer. Born in Iona Station, Ontario, he earned a B.Sc. degree (1931) from the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph and M.Sc (1933) and a Ph.D. degree (1934) from the University of California, Berkeley, and later studied in England at Cambridge University. He became a U.S. citizen in 1937 and would serve in Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. He was also Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he taught for many years, a U.S. ambassador to India (1963-63), and the author of many books of economics, including American Capitalism, The Great Crash, 1929, The Affluent Society, The New Industrial State, and Economics and the Public Purpose, as well as hundreds of essays, a memoir, and a number of novels. He was awarded numerous honorary degrees, twice received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1946 and 2000, and was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1997.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972) was an American writer, teacher, and social critic. Born in New York, his formal education was in philosophy and literature. He taught English, sociology, and city planning at the University of Chicago (where he obtained his Ph.D.), New York University, and the University of Wisconsin; at Sarah Lawrence College, in Bronxville, NY; at the experimental college of Black Mountain; and at the "free university" organized by students of San Francisco State College. The author of books on social themes (including People or Personnel, Compulsory Mis-Education, Utopian Essays and Practical Proposals, The Society I Live Is Mine, The Politics of Being Queer, and Growing Up Absurb), he was also co-author of Communitas, a work on community planning. He also wrote literary criticism (The Structure of Literature, Kafka's Prayer), novels (including Empire City and Making Do), numerous short stories, plays, and several books on poetry.
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urban activist and writer. In 1962, she chaired the Joint Committee to Stop the Lower Manhattan Expressway, helping prevent the expressway from being built. She helped block the Lower Manhattan Expressway again in 1968, and was arrested during a demonstration. In part due to her anti-Vietnam stance, that same year Jacobs moved to Toronto, where she would remain. There she helped stop the Spadina Expressway, and influenced the successful regeneration of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. Her books include The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Economy of Cities, Cities and the Wealth of Nations, Systems of Survival, The Nature of Economics, and Dark Age Ahead. A Canadian citizen from 1974, she was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1996.
Eric W. Kierans (1914-2004) was a Canadian economist, business leader, politician, and writer. Born in Montreal and educated at Loyola College and McGill University, his career included that of president of the Montreal and Canadian stock exchanges, extensive business experience, director of the McGill School of Commerce, as well as the political offices of minister of revenue for Quebec, minister of health for Quebec, president of the Quebec Liberal Federation, candidacy for the federal leadership (Liberal) in 1968, and federal cabinet minister in Pierre Elliott Trudeau's first government with the positions of postmaster general and minister of communications. His books include Challenge of Confidence: Kierans on Canada and his memoirs, Remembering. Eric Kierans was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was a Baptist minister and a key leader in the American civil-rights movement. He was co-pastor, with his father, of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and president and one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. An eloquent advocate of achieving civil rights through non-violent means, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was selected by Time magazine as one of the ten outstanding personalities of 1957 and was named its "Man of the Year" for 1963. Born in Atlanta, he obtained a B.A. degree at Morehouse College in 1948m a B.D. degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1951, and a Ph.D. degree in Systematic Theology from Boston University in 1955. He lectured extensively at academic institutions and authored a number of books including Stride Toward Freedom, Strength to Love, Why We Can't Wait, and Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community. Assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Meda of Freedom in 1977. Martin Luther King Day was established as a U.S. holiday in 1986.