Home » Canada » Robertson Davies

Robertson Davies


Robertson Davies was born in 1913 in Thamesville, Ontario. After taking his B. Litt. at Oxford University he worked as an actor at the Old Vic in London and did literary work for Tyrone Guthrie. He married the stage manager of the Old Vic, Brenda Mathews. They had three daughters. On returning to Canada, he worked as a journalist, including as editor of the Peterborough News, a paper owned by his father. He was very much involved with theatre, as can be seen from his novels. In 1963, he became Master of Massey College, University of Toronto. He is best known for his three trilogies – The Salterton Trilogy, The Deptford Trilogy and The Cornish Trilogy. The novels can be erudite, contrived or even just plain sappy but they are all good reading. Davies took a moral stance which may not always accord with what is fashionable at the end of the 20th Century. For him, what was important was the artist or the independent man (women tend to play ancillary roles in his novels). He was a Tory in the old-fashioned sense of the word. He died in 1995.

Books about Robertson Davies

Elspeth Buitenhuis: Robertson Davies
Elspeth Cameron (ed): Robertson Davies: An Appreciation
Lynne Diamond-Nigh: Robertson Davies: Life, Work, and Criticism
Judith Skelton Grant: Robertson Davies: Man of Myth (the standard biography)
R Morley: Robertson Davies
Michael Peterman: Robertson Davies
Mordecai Richler: Robertson Davies

Other links

Robertson Davies
Robertson Davies
Robertson Davies: erudite and entertaining


1939 Shakespeare’s Boy Actors
1940 Shakespeare for Young Players: A Junior Course
1947 The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks
1949 Fortune, My Foe (drama)
1949 Eros at Breakfast and Other Plays (drama)
1949 The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks
1950 At My Heart’s Core (drama)
1950 Four Favorite Plays (drama)
1951 Tempest-Tost
1952 A Masque of Aesop (drama)
1952 Renown at Stratford (with Grant MacDonald and Sir Tyrone Guthrie)
1953 Twice Have the Trumpets Sounded (with Grant MacDonald and Sir Tyrone Guthrie)
1953 Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mewed (with Grant MacDonald and Sir Tyrone Guthrie)
1954 A Jig for the Gypsy (drama)
1954 Leaven of Malice
1958 A Mixture of Frailties
1960 A Voice from the Attic: Essays on the Art of Reading
1961 The Personal Art; Reading to Good Purpose
1963 A Masque of Mr. Punch (drama)
1966 At my Heart’s Core and Overlaid
1967 Samuel Marchbanks’ Almanac
1968 Four Favourite Plays (Eros at Breakfast; The Voice of the People; At the Gates of the Righteous; Fortune, My Foe)
1968 The Voice of the People
1970 Fifth Business
1970 A Feast of Stephen
1970 Stephen Leacock
1970 What Do You See in the Mirror? : a Footnote to the Psychedelic Revolution
1972 Hunting Stuart & Other Plays (drama)
1972 The Manticore
1975 Question Time (drama)
1975 World of Wonders
1977 One Half of Robertson Davies
1979 The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies
1981 Brothers in the Black Art (TV drama)
1981 The Rebel Angels
1981 The Well-Tempered Critic : One Man’s View of Theatre and Letters in Canada
1982 High Spirits
1983 The Deptford Trilogy (Fifth Business; The Manticore; World of Wonders)
1983 The Mirror of Nature
1985 The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks
1985 What’s Bred in the Bone
1986 The Salterton Trilogy (Tempest-Tost; Leaven of Malice; A Mixture of Frailties)
1988 The Lyre of Orpheus
1991 Murther & Walking Spirits
1992 The Cornish Trilogy (The Rebel Angels; What’s Bred in the Bone; The Lyre of Orpheus)
1993 Reading and Writing
1994 Hunting Stuart and The Voice of the People : Two Plays
1994 The Cunning Man
1996 The Mirror of Nature
1996 The Merry Heart: Reflections on Reading, Writing and the World of Books
1997 A Happy Alchemy: on the Pleasures of Music and the Theatre