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One Half of Robertson Davies

by Robertson Davies

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Read several of these speeches etc. because the author is a Big Name in some circles and I wasn't drawn to his fiction. I didn't identify so much with the short samples, either. Btw, when I develop better Librarian skills, I need to fix the cover and page number. My copy, which I will bookcross and share, is almost 300, and has an artsy cartoony drawing on the cover.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
A Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best-known and most popular authors, and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is variously said to have gladly accepted for himself and to have detested. Davies was the founding Master of Massey College, a graduate residential college associated with the University of Toronto. This is a collection of after-dinner speeches, commencement-day speeches, some humor, and a few lectures by the Canadian novelist-playwright-scholar. "When you read this book, will you please try to hear it," pleads Davies. A rambling and chatty affair, the book contains warnings against sloth, a gentle attack on modern architecture ("how many modern houses have a study?"), fables about academia, musings on Canadian identity. Davies is exceedingly erudite but in an old-fashioned manner, and his satires on the Age of Aquarius ("originated in the mind of a very young person who had been partaking unwisely of a feast of whipped cream complicated by several sharp snorts of cocaine") did not match my own memory (of mainly observing rather than obsessing). I enjoyed the selections when he was discussing literature, and his four straightforward lectures on evil--in melodramas, ghost stories, and novels. He offered intriguing praise for some "minor" writers, as well as familiar but neatly-phrased Dickensiana (Thackeray "handles Evil with tongs. Dickens didn't: he lived it"). In spite of his reliance on platitudes I enjoyed this collection. Perhaps there was a bit too much jargoned Jungian predilection ("Jung and the Theatre" is the nadir) for my taste, but this is a good book for the bedside shelf. ( )
  jwhenderson | Apr 27, 2013 |
One half is more than enough. Davies fund of knowlege,esoteric/exoteric is deeper than a well, broader than a barn, it always serves. One half of Robertson Davies is more satisfying than the whole of some few others. Section 5 is must reading. He concludes the essay THE MASKS OF SATAN with a quote from the AUTOBIOGRAPHY of John Cowper Powys:

'It comes to pass, even while we are still in life, that when our soul loses itself in the long continuity of kindred lives, it does not lose itself in any power less gentle, less magical, less universal than itself, or less the enemy of cruelty; for what it finds is what it brings, and what it sees is what it is; and though the First Cause may be both good and evil, a power has risen out of it against which all the evil in it and all the unthinkable atrocities it brings to pass are fighting a losing battle.' ( )
2 vote Porius | Dec 3, 2008 |
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Robertson Daviesprimary authorall editionscalculated
BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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