Francis Sparshott

Fonds number:
Title: Francis Sparshott
Dates of Material:
6.09 m of textual records
108 photographs : col.
58 photogprahs : col. slides
Biographical sketch

Francis Edward Sparshott (1926–2015) was an academic and a poet. He was born in Chatham, England, the son of Frank Brownley and Gladwys Winifred Head. He married Kathleen Elizabeth Vaughan in 1953. They had one daughter, Pumpkin Margaret Elizabeth.

Sparshott was educated at the King’s School in Rochester, England. He received a B.A. and an M.A. (1950) from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, England. He moved to Toronto, Ontario, in 1950 when he was appointed to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He joined the faculty of Victoria College, University of Toronto, in 1955 as Professor of Greek Philosophy, Ethics, and Aesthetics; and was appointed Professor of Philosophy in 1964. In 1982, he was also appointed University Professor at the University of Toronto. He retired in 1991.

Sparshott was a member of the Canadian Philosophical Association, the League of Canadian Poets and P.E.N. International. He received the President’s Medal of the University of Western Ontario in London in 1958 and the First Prize, Poetry in the C.B.C. Literary Competition in 1981.

Sparshott published the following volumes of poetry: A Divided Voice (1965), A Cardboard Garage (1969), The Naming of the Beasts (1979), The Rainy Hills (1979), New Fingers for Old Dikes (1981), The Cave of Trophonius (1981), The Hanging Gardens at Etobicoke (1983), Storms and Screens (1986), Sculling to Byzantium (1989), Views from the Zucchini Gazebo (1994), Home from the Air (1997), and The City Dwellers (2000), as well as a work of fiction titled A Book [by Cromwell Kent] (1970).

Sparshott’s publications also include the following books: An Enquiry into Goodness and Related Concepts (1958), The Structure of Aesthetics (1963), The Concept of Criticism (1967), Looking for Philosophy (1972), Aesthetics of Structures (1981), The Theory of the Arts (1982), Off the Ground (1988), Taking Life Seriously (1994), A Measured Pace (1995), and The Future of Aesthetics (1998). Additionally, he contributed to the following journals: Alphabet, Catalyst, Canadian Forum, Descant, Fiddlehead, Literary Review, The Nation, Pan/ic, Queen’s Quarterly, Poetry (Chicago), Saturday Night, Tamarack Review, and West Coast Review.

Scope and content

The fonds contains Francis Sparshott’s records pertaining primarily to his academic career and literary endeavours. It consists of three series:

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from Francis Sparshott on various dates between 1980 and 1996. Accession 2015.07 was donated by Pumpkin Sparshott, Francis Sparshott's daughter.

The Victoria University Board Game and pinup board in Box 13 of accession 2015.07 were originally transferred to the Victoria University Archives from the Victoria College Principal's Office in July 1991 (1991.076V). Those records were bundled into accession 2015.07 and relocated to the Francis Sparshott fonds in the Special Collections in November 2015.

Language of material


Access restrictions

No restrictions on access

Finding aids

Box/file list available


Further accruals are expected.

Access points

Sparshott, Francis Edward, 1926–2015