Robertson Davies biography

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The best among our writers are doing their accustomed work of mirroring what is deep in the spirit of our time; if chaos appears in those mirrors, we must have faith that in the future, as always in the past, that chaos will slowly reveal itself as a new aspect of order."

Robertson Davies

A Voice from the Attic (1951)

Robertson Davies was born on August 28, 1913, in the small village of Thamesville, Ontario. He was son of Senator William Rupert Davies. Robertson Davies was a playwright and director for many years, in England and Canada. Although Davies grew in a small village, Davies was surrounded by literature. His father was a newspaper man, and both his parents were voracious readers. He is a fanatical reader, he always reads everything he could. Davies spent his first twenty-three working years at various newspapers in small town Ontario. He was educated at Queen's University, Ontario and Balliol College, Oxford.

Davies's first passion was for the theatre, he joined the Old Vic Repertory Company in 1938, later taught drama at the Old Vic Theater School, which is where he met and married his wife, Brenda Mathews. In 1940, after returning to Canada, became literary editor of Saturday Night Magazine. During this period, he began to write plays, and then novels, starting with Tempest-Tost in 1951. He wrote 10 other novels, grouped into trilogies, as well as many plays. He became editor of the Peterborough Examiner in 1942. Davies later became the Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto (1961-1981). In 1960, he began teaching literature at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and continued until 1981. He died in Orangeville, Ontario on Dec. 2, 1995.

The protagonist of Fifth Business, Dunstan Ramsey, crops up in several other novels by Davies...