Robertson Davies

Writer

Born: 28 August 1913
Died: 2 December 1995
Birthplace: Thamesville, Canada
Best known as: Author of Fifth Business

Name at birth: William Robertson Davies

One of the great figures in Canadian literature, Robertson Davies is best-known for the Deptford trilogy of books, Fifth Business (1970, The Manticore (1972) and World of Wonders (1975). Davies was born into a family of journalists in Ontario, Canada. Educated at Queens University in Toronto, he earned his literature degree from Balliol College at Oxford in 1938. He spent two decades as a journalist, writing theater criticism and contributing to Ontario's Peterborough Examiner, his father's newspaper. He wrote plays produced in Canada, and in 1951 published his first novel, Tempest-Tost (1951), the first of what is called the Salterton Trilogy (followed by 1954's Leaven of Malice and 1958's A Mixture of Frailties). From 1960 until 1981 Davies was a professor of English at the University of Toronto while earning a reputation as one of Canada's most erudite and talented novelists. After retirement his literary fame grew with the publication of The Rebel Angels (1981), which was followed by two more books in what is called the Cornish Trilogy, What's Bred in the Bone (1985) and The Lyre of Orpheus (1988). Davies's work was subtly humorous, sometimes fantastical and informed by his varied interests, from Jungian analysis to the legend of King Arthur.

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