Robertson Davies Reading Weekend Wrap-Up

It’s been a wonderful long weekend of reading Robertson Davies! Thanks to all who joined in this event; here are the posts I gathered:

  • Calmgrove on Tempest-Tost: “This then could be how the novel works: a light entertainment, yes; perhaps a work to share with bookish friends, certainly; but also possibly a work laden with significances, above and beyond its seeming nature.”
  • Bookish Beck on The Rebel Angels: “If I can generalize about Davies from having read just two of his books, I would say that his novels engage with philosophy and the Christian tradition, and though he dives into the dark things of life his is an essentially comic vision, giving his work an attractively puckish air.”
  • Cath Humphris on Why Robertson Davies?: “Reading it was an audacious adventure, something that was different to anything I’d read before, and yet I knew that it was what I’d been working my way towards all of my literate life.”
  • Trevor Murphy on The Manticore: “an engaging narrative and delivers the richness of detail and alternate perspectives within the world of his creation that make Davies a unique artist.”
  • And my own post on The Cunning Man: “What is the necessity we are covering up, and how shall wholeness be restored when we don’t want to look at our full, uncensored selves?”

This takes us from Davies’s first novel to his last, with stops at his other major trilogies and a glance at the essays as well. I couldn’t have organized it better if I’d tried.

I will leave you with the final words from that final novel, a curious and quirky envoi that is delivered in response to a phone call that turns out to be a wrong number — if there can be said to be any such thing, in the fate-conscious, magic-infused imagination of Robertson Davies.

“Eh? Isn’t that the Odeon?”
I decide to give a Burtonian answer.
“No, this is the Great Theatre of Life. Admission is free but the taxation is mortal. You come when you can, and leave when you must. The show is continuous. Good-night.”

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