Robertson Davies

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Robertson Davies was a Canadian playwright, author, journalist, and professor who was very important in his field. He was one of the people who started Massey College, which is a school that is connected to the University of Toronto. As a writer, he wrote several books, some of which were very romanticized or took place in old Europe. This writer has been nominated for the Booker Prize. Some of the books she has written are “What’s Bred in the Bone,” “Leaven of Malice,” “World of Wonders,” “Murther and Walking Spirits,” and “The Cunning Man.” He is best known for his books, but he also wrote plays, such as “Eros at Breakfast,” “The Voice of the People,” “General Confession,” and “Brothers in Black Art,” during his lifetime. His large body of work made him a literary giant in his day, and he still influences a lot of young novelists and playwrights today. One of the things that helped him get where he was going was that he was a great speaker. He was smart, funny, and didn’t care if people thought he was out of date. He was a man of many words, and through his choice of words, he was able to enchant many readers and audiences during his life. He was known as the “man of letters” because of this.

Early years and childhood

William Robertson Davies was born in Thamesville, Ontario, on August 28, 1913. His parents were William Rupert Davies and Florence Sheppard McKay.
From 1926 to 1932, he went to Upper Canada College, and during that time, he went to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene.

After he finished college, he went to Queen’s University and wrote for the school newspaper, “The Queen’s Journal.” Soon after that, he left Canada to study at Balliol College, Oxford, where he got his B. Litt degree in 1938.

In 1939, he put out his thesis, which was called “Shakespeare’s Boy Actors,” and started acting outside of London. He had small parts and worked at the Old Vic Repertory Company the next year.

Robertson Davies’s Career

In 1940, he moved back to Canada and got a job as the literary editor for the magazine “Saturday Night.” He became the editor of the “Peterborough Examiner” in two years.
In 1942, he published his thesis, “Shakespeare for Young Players: A Junior Course.” Five years later, he wrote “The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks,” which was his first work of fiction.

Between 1948 and 1950, he wrote more than just theses. He wrote plays like “Overlaid,” “Eros at Breakfast,” “Hope Deferred,” “King Phoenix,” “Fortune my Foe,” “The Voice of the People,” and “At My Heart’s Core.” During this time, he also wrote “The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks,” which is a story.

In 1951, he wrote his first book, which was the first part of “The Salterton Trilogy.” It was called “Tempest-Tost.” During this time, he was still an editor for the newspaper “Examiner.” The second book in the series, called “Leaven of Malice,” came out four years later.

In the 1950s, he was a big part of starting the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada, where he later became a board member.
From 1952 to 1956, he wrote a number of plays, such as “A Masque of Aesop,” “Hunting Stuart,” “A Jig for the Gypsy,” and “General Confession.”

In 1958, he wrote “A Mixture of Frailties,” a book about how hard it is to keep a cultural life going in Canada.
In 1960, a book called “A Voice from the Attic” came out. It was a collection of essays by Robertson Davies. After the book came out, it was so popular that it was printed again and again for several years.

He started working as a professor of literature at Trinity College at the University of Toronto. In 1963, he became the Master of Massey College, where he started the tradition of writing and telling ghost stories at Christmas parties every year.

The third Samuel Marchbanks book, “Samuel Marchbanks’ Almanack,” came out in 1967. The book was put out in an almanac format. Three years later, he put out “A Feast of Stephen,” “Stephen Leacock,” and “Fifth Business,” a non-fiction book.

After “Fifth Business” did well, he wrote two more books: “The Manticore” in 1972 and “World of Wonders” three years later. The three books became known as “The Deptford Trilogy” as a whole.

From 1975 to 1980, he wrote “Question Time,” a play, as well as “One Half of Robertson Davies,” a thesis, and “The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies,” a collection of essays.
After he stopped working at the university, in 1981 he put out a satire book called “The Rebel Angels.” He wrote the play “Brothers in the Black Art” the same year.

He wrote the libretto for the opera “Doctor Canon’s Cure” in 1982. He wrote “What’s Bred in the Bone” two years later, which got him a nomination for the “Booker Prize.”
The third book in the series, called “The Lyre of Orpheus,” came out in 1988. As a whole, the three books became known as “The Cornish Trilogy.”

In 1991, when he wrote “Murther and Walking Spirits,” he did more to prove that he was one of the best writers at the time. Three years later, he wrote a follow-up called “The Cunning Man” to the same book. He was writing his third book when he died, so he couldn’t finish it.

Works of note

The books in “The Deptford Trilogy,” which he wrote from 1970 to 1975, are “Fifth Business,” “The Manticore,” and “World of Wonders.” Most people think this is one of his best works because of how complicated the story is and how the plot builds up.

The first book in the series, “Fifth Business,” is thought to be the best of the three. It is ranked 40th on the Modern Library’s list of the “100 best novels of the 20th century.”

Awards & Achievements

In 1948, his play “Eros at Breakfast” won the “Best Canadian Play” award at the Dominion Drama Festival.
In 1961, he was given the Lorne Pierce Medal for his writing.
For his book “The Manticore,” which was written in English, he won the Governor-Literary General’s Award for English-language fiction in 1972.

Personal History and Legacies

Brenda Mathews was a stage manager, and she married Robertson Davies. His wife’s family came from Australia.
He was close friends with both the writer John Kenneth Galbraith and the novelist John Irving.

He died in Orangeville, Ontario, on December 2, 1995. His funeral was shown live and people like Margaret Atwood and Timothy Findlay were there.

Estimated Net worth

Robertson is one of the wealthiest authors and is on the list of the most popular authors. Based on what we’ve found on Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Robertson Davies is worth about $12 million.


This well-known Canadian novelist, playwright, and professor stood up for Salman Rushdie when he was threatened by a “fatwa” from Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini because of Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses.”