Robertson Davies life and biography

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Robertson Davies biography

Date of birth : 1913-08-28
Date of death : 1995-12-02
Birthplace : Thamesville, Ontario, Canada
Nationality : Canadian
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-07-14
Credited as : Novelist, playwright, and journalist

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William Robertson Davies was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor.

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.

Author of books:


The Salterton Trilogy
Tempest-Tost (1951)
Leaven of Malice (1954)
A Mixture of Frailties (1958)
The Deptford Trilogy
Fifth Business (1970)
The Manticore (1972)
World of Wonders (1975)
The Cornish Trilogy
The Rebel Angels (1981)
What's Bred in the Bone (1985)
The Lyre of Orpheus (1988)
The "Toronto Trilogy"
Murther and Walking Spirits (1991)
The Cunning Man (1994)


Overlaid (1948)
Eros at Breakfast (1948)
Hope Deferred (1948)
King Phoenix(1948)
At the Gates of the Righteous (1949)
Fortune My Foe (1949)
The Voice of the People (1949)
At My Heart's Core (1950)
A Masque of Aesop (1952)
Hunting Stuart (1955)
A Jig for the Gypsy (1955)
General Confession (1956)
A Masque of Mr. Punch (1963)
Question Time (1975)
Brothers in the Black Art (1981)

Awards and recognition:
Won the Dominion Drama Festival Award for best Canadian play in 1948 for Eros at Breakfast.
Won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour in 1955 for Leaven of Malice.
Won the Lorne Pierce Medal for his literary achievements in 1961.
Won the Governor-General's Literary Award in the English language fiction category in 1972 for The Manticore.
Short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1986 for What's Bred in the Bone.
Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Oxford, 1991.
First Canadian to become an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Companion of the Order of Canada.
Park in Toronto named after him in 2007.

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