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Robertson Davies Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Cornish Trilogy Books

The Rebel Angels (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
What's Bred in the Bone (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lyre of Orpheus (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The Deptford Trilogy Books

Fifth Business (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Manticore (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
World of Wonders (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The Salterton Trilogy Books

Tempest-Tost (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Leaven of Malice (1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Mixture of Frailties (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Toronto Trilogy Books

Murther and Walking Spirits (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cunning Man (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Masque of Mr. Punch (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stephen Leacock (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
High Spirits (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
At My Heart's CoreOverlaid (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fortune, My Foe and Eros at Breakfast (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hunting Stuart and The Voice of the People (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Gathering of Ghost Stories (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Modern Classics Selected Works On the Art of Writing (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Selected Works on the Pleasures of Reading (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Celtic Temperament: Robertson Davies as Diarist (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

A Voice from the Attic (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
One Half of Robertson Davies (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Well-Tempered Critic (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mirror of Nature (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Merry Heart (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
For Your Eye Alone (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Happy Alchemy (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Robertson Davies Discoveries: Early Letters 1938-1975 (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Robertson Davies
Robertson Davies was a literary fiction author, playwright, professor, and journalist. Often listed among Canada’s best authors, Davies was also known as one of the country’s distinguished “men of Letters,” a term he somehow detested. Aside from having over 80 distinct works to his name, this talented author left quite a mark in the education sector. For one, he founded the Master of Massey College and helped grow this graduate college. He was also a widely read professor who enjoyed passing his knowledge to the next generation.

Fifth Business
Fifth Business is the first book in The Deptford Trilogy. The series focuses on people from the fictional town of Deptford. This book stars Dunstan Ramsay, an intelligent and sharp-tongued man who was destined for a life out of the ordinary. Ramsay first worked as a school teacher in a boys’ private school. Aside from his wife and kids, Ramsay’s only friend was Boyd Staunton. Boyd is Deptford’s golden Boy and Ramsay’s childhood frenemy. Unlike Ramsay, Boyd is active, outgoing, rich, and popular. Fortunately, Ramsay gets his time to shine when he uses his father’s small fortunes to build a business empire. Ramsay’s fortune does not reduce Boyd’s pride.

Aside from their shared origin, Ramsay and Boyd are linked to a tragedy that occurred to Mrs. Mary Dempster. One fateful winter day, Boyd hurls a snowball towards Ramsay, but it ends up hitting the then-pregnant Mary Dempster. Mary then goes into early labor, delivers a boy named Paul, but the accident makes her lose some cognitive functions. Ramsay has kept these facts secret, but the guilt remains with him. This event actually shapes him and determines the man he becomes. Ramsay has made it his responsibility to care for Mary, and it turns out that Mary impacts his life more than he would have ever thought possible.
Ramsay believes that Mary is a saint, and he has enough evidence to prove it. Three times in the past, Ramsay has seen Mary perform miracles that included resurrecting his dead older brother. These miracles quip Ramsay’s curiosity, and his research of these mysterious figures almost turns into an obsession. While Ramsay is not a religious man, he is not skeptical that religious experiences are possible. How else can he interpret the things he has seen Mary do in the past?

It is through Ramsay that the author introduces his obsession with Jungian archetypes and their significance in history. Ramsey is a great narrator who seems to be both observant and self-aware. While this is a work of fiction, the book highlights some of the horrors of world war I. The book also highlights how our lives are entwined with the people we meet in our life journeys, no matter how solitary and disconnected we feel. The main themes here include morality and religion, reality and illusion, and timeless lessons picked through life.

Fifth Business is an intriguing story that comes with delightful prose, a lot of humor, and some good lessons on life. Through Ramsay, you will learn that life, just like a good play, comes with heroes, villains, and a diverse supporting cast. Some of life’s events may seem mundane, but they may be the most defining moments in our lives. If you are looking for a classic with thought-provoking content and beautiful writing, this book is ideal.

The Rebel Angels
The Rebel Angels is the first book in The Cornish Trilogy. The book revolved around a hard to execute will. Francis Cornish was fantastically rich and a collector of an antiquarian bibliophile and Canadian art. His executor discovers that a Rabelais manuscript is among Francis Cornish’s possessions. To help find the lost manuscript and catalog the rest of Cornish’s art collection, the executor enlists the help of Urquhart McVarish, a Revolting Renaissance scholar, Professor Clement Hollier, an ivory tower inhabitant, and Reverend Simon Darcourt, a humanist clergyman. Somehow, Professor Hollier’s beautiful Ph.D. student Maria Theotoky gets involved, and all these characters merge to form a rich, slightly vulgar, and funny campus novel.

This book tells the story of Maria and Simon. Maria is half-gypsy, and she is madly in love with her mentor. Simon is a preacher, a university teacher, and he is in love with Maria. He is a defrocked monk trying to write a book while mooching off his classmates, and several St. John College professors are also involved. There is also one of Cornish’s heirs who seem very eager to get his portion of the inheritance. All these characters show the author’s admirable knowledge in literature, philosophy, and history. The information is interwoven with university life, humor, and gypsy tradition, making it truly interesting.
The narration alternates between Maria and Simon, but most of the book is made up of conversations between the characters. Since this story is more character than plot-driven, you will get to know everyone in it a little better and possibly have favorites by the time you get to the end. As the executors go through the difficult cataloging task, the unexpected disruption by John Parlabane and the love developing between the heroine and one of these men will help lighten the mood. There is also a marriage proposal that is as beautiful as it is unconventional.

There are many things to love in this story. First, there is the humor, which is perfectly done. The author’s portrayal of the heroine is also notable. Even by current standards, the female protagonist was way ahead of her time, and she comes out fully rounded despite the paternalistic environment. There is also a portrait of art by someone who is well-read and knowledgeable about this topic.

The Rebel Angels tells a story of love, pride, lust, and art. It is also a tale of artistic triumph, deceit, and well-kept secrets. Through Maria, Simon, and the rest of the cast, the author displays a spectacle of perjury, theft, scholarship, and murder. These are woven together with wisdom, wit, and humor resulting in a masterpiece. This is another great read if you are a fan of the classics, art, and well-crafted, character-driven stories.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Robertson Davies

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