Wednesday, October 14, 2015

History of Literature: the Robertson Davies diaries

Book season, and I missed the Toronto Heritage Awards last night to attend the launch of A Celtic Temperament, McClelland & Stewart's publication of a tranche from the diaries of Robertson Davies. Very nicely done, too;  editors Ramsay Derry and Jennifer (Davies) Surridge talking of the diarist and the diaries, with each of their pieces introducing Stratford actor Graham Abbey who read Robertson Davies's parts. In an audience of writers, actors, editors, and academics, they had managed to find at least one Davies excerpt discomfiting to each, hence much laughter.

The excerpts published cover the late 1950s and early 1960s. Davies, bored with Peterborough and his editorship of the family newspaper there and feeling a failure as novelist and dramatist, is abruptly offered the Mastership of Massey College by Vincent Massey himself. The family moves to Toronto, and Davies relaunches himself as public man of letters and begins planning the Deptford novels that will finally bring him what he really wants: international recognition.
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