Robertson Davies Reading Week

Welcome to this celebration of the works of Robertson Davies, one of my favorite authors — and one I’ve found to be sadly not much discussed in the blogosphere. I hope to change that, at least for this week … and I hope the effects will continue to reverberate in your reading life, as there’s much more to explore than we can possibly cover in this short time.

This is an informal event, with no set readalong or any requirements whatsoever. Please feel free to read anything by Robertson Davies that you wish; leave a comment if there’s any link you’d like to share; on social media, use the tag #ReadingRobertsonDavies. I’ll do a round-up at the end of the week.

Or just see what others have to say, and make your own reading plans later. For your pleasure and inspiration, I’ve invited some blogging friends to share thoughts on a variety of subjects:

  • Chris of Calmgrove will start us off tomorrow by considering the enduring appeal of The Deptford Trilogy.
  • I will follow up on Tuesday with an appreciation of two of Davies’s nonfiction collections, The Merry Heart and Happy Alchemy.
  • Next, on Wednesday Lizzie Ross, Writer sees what can be gleaned about Davies from one volume of his published letters, For Your Eye Alone.
  • On Thursday Naomi of Consumed by Ink will conjure up the author’s inimitable voice in High Spirits, a set of ghost stories that he originally told each Christmas while serving as Master of Massey College;
  • And finally, on Friday we say farewell as Buried in Print offers a look at Davies’s next-to-last novel, Murther and Walking Spirits (narrated from beyond the grave, fittingly enough).

I am very grateful for all these contributions; I do hope you will enjoy them, and that you’ll share your own thoughts and experiences with us. It should be a marvelous week!

“Why do people all over the world, and at all times, want marvels that defy all verifiable facts? And are the marvels brought into being by their desire or is their desire an assurance rising from some deep knowledge, not to be directly experienced and questioned, that the marvelous is indeed an aspect of the real?” –Robertson Davies, Fifth Business

12 thoughts on “Robertson Davies Reading Week

  1. I am currently read an interesting book, How to Read Novels Like a Professor Thomas C. Foster. Here is what he says about Robertson Davies

    “The late twentieth century even produced some great Victorian novelists of its own, perhaps most notably that magnificent Canadian, Robertson Davies. Davies, who didn’t start publishing novels until his late thirties, produced three and two-thirds trilogies before his death at age eighty-two. His novels would fit uncomfortably into the 1870s or 1880s because of his greater frankness, but in terms of form and sensibility, he’s one of Them. In What’s Bred in the Bone (1985) he even asks the question, what is an artist born out of his right time supposed to do? The answer, in this as in the rest of his novels, is to produce the art he was born to make.”

    It is to late for me to participate but i Will read all The posts looking for insights into where i should start.


    1. Thanks for commenting here as well as on Facebook, Mel! I hope you will find all the posts of interest. There is so much to discover and explore with RD.


  2. Totally looking forward to hearing what others have posted and learning more about Davies’ works. You are right, he isn’t a name you hear all that often in the blogosphere.

    I read The Fifth Business and posted about it at my blog. For sure I will complete the trilogy now. Thanks for this impetus to finally dive in!


  3. This has come at the wrong time for me, as I moved house three weeks ago and haven’t had much time for reading. I do have a copy of Fifth Business which I’m hoping to start soon, though, and I’ll look forward to seeing everyone else’s posts!


  4. It’s going to be such a great week. Davies has written such a variety of works; it’s great to think that other readers have yet to discover him and have so much good reading ahead of them.


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