The Rebel Angels

      Robertson Davies
The Rebel Angels

Available as an eBook for the first time, The Rebel Angels is the first book in the celebrated Cornish Trilogy.

Gypsies, defrocked monks, mad professors, and wealthy eccentrics—a remarkable cast peoples Robertson Davies’ brilliant spectacle of theft, perjury, murder, scholarship, and love at a modern university. Only Davies, author of Fifth Business, could have woven together their destinies with such wit, humour, and wisdom.

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    The Cunning Man

      Robertson Davies
The Cunning Man

The Cunning Man is a perceptive and entertaining memoir of a doctor’s life, available as an eBook for the first time.

When Father Hobbes mysteriously dies at the high altar on Good Friday, Dr. Jonathan Hullah—whose holistic work has earned him the label “Cunning Man” (for the wizard of the folk tradition)—wants to know why. The physician-cum-diagnostician’s search for answers compels him to look back over his own long life. He conjures vivid memories of the dazzling intellectual high jinks and compassionate philosophies of his circle, including flamboyant, mystical curate Charlie Iredale; cynical, quixotic professor Brocky Gilmartin; outrageous banker Darcy Dwyer; and jocular, muscular artist Pansy Todhunter. In compelling and hilarious scenes from the divine comedy of life, The Cunning Man reveals profound truths about being human.

In Robertson Davies’ last novel, he returns to those issues which concerned him throughout his writing career–the nature of friendship, religion, faith, and artistic life–with his famous wit and humour and his usual rich characterization.

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    Manticore

      Robertson Davies
Manticore

The second novel in Robertson Davies’ critically acclaimed Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore is a fascinating exploration, by an exquisite stylist, of those regions beyond reason where monsters live. Available as an eBook for the first time.

David Staunton, the son of Percy Boyd Staunton, travels to Switzerland. As he undergoes Jungian analysis for a lifetime of unhappiness and the trauma left by the death of his father, he repeatedly encounters a manticore—a monster with the head of a man, the body of lion, and the tail of a scorpion.

“He is to say the least a mature and wise writer.” Anthony Burgess

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    What's Bred in the Bone

      Robertson Davies
What's Bred in the Bone

Called “an altogether remarkable creation, his most accomplished novel to date” (The New York Times), What's Bred in the Bone is the second brilliant novel in Robertson Davies’ The Cornish Trilogy. Available as an eBook for the first time.

Francis Cornish was always good at keeping secrets. From the well-hidden family secret of his childhood to his mysterious encounters with a small-town embalmer, a master art restorer, a Bavarian countess, and various masters of espionage, the events in Francis’s life were not always what they seemed.

In this wonderfully ingenious portrait of an art expert and collector of international renown, Robertson Davies has created a spellbinding tale of artistic triumph and heroic deceit. It is a tale told in stylish, elegant prose, endowed with lavish portions of Davies’ wit and wisdom.
“Davies’s make-believe universe has the appeal of a mystic’s vision… What’s Bred in the Bone is vintage Davies.” The Globe and Mail

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    The Lyre of Orpheus

      Robertson Davies
The Lyre of Orpheus

Hailed as a literary masterpiece, Robertson Davies' The Cornish Trilogy comes to a brilliant conclusion in The Lyre of Orpheus. Available as an eBook for the first time.

There is an important decision to be made. The Cornish Foundation is thriving under the directorship of Arthur Cornish when Arthur and his beguiling wife, Maria Theotoky, decide to undertake a project worthy of Francis Cornish– connoisseur, collector, and notable eccentric–whose vast fortune endows the Foundation. The grumpy, grimy, extraordinarily talented music student Hulda Schnakenburg is commissioned to complete E.T.A. Hoffmann’s unfinished opera Arthur of Britain, or The Magnanimous Cuckold; and the scholarly priest Simon Darcourt finds himself charged with writing the libretto. Complications both practical and emotional arise: the gypsy in Maria’s blood rises with a vengeance; Darcourt stoops to petty crime; and various others indulge in perjury, blackmail, and other unsavory pursuits. Hoffmann’s dictum, “the lyre of Orpheus opens the door of the underworld,” seems to be all too true—especially when the long-hidden secrets of Francis Cornish himself are finally revealed. Baroque and deliciously funny, this third book in The Cornish Trilogy shows Robertson Davies at his very considerable best.

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    High Spirits

      Robertson Davies
High Spirits

The fruits of an eighteen-year tradition of Massey College’s annual Gaudy Nights, Robertson Davies’ High Spirits still delights and amuses to this day. Published as an eBook for the first time.

In the Introduction to this collection of charming stories, Robertson Davies notes we all need “ghosts as a dietary supplement . . . to stave off that most dreadful of modern ailments, the Rational Rickets.”

In one tale, Mr. Davies introduces the ghost of Henrik Ibsen; in another, he brings us face to face with a bust of Charles Dickens, whose “scarlet lips . . . parted in a terrible smile” and whose “beard stirred in a hiccup of repletion.”

Sixteen other apparitions manifest themselves, each rendered with Robertson Davies’ special touch–a bit of parody, a touch of true scariness–and all emanating from high spirits.

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    Fifth Business

      Robertson Davies
Fifth Business

The first book in Robertson Davies’ celebrated Deptford Trilogy, Fifth Business stands alone as the story of a rational man who discovers that the marvelous is only another aspect of the real. Published as an eBook for the first time.

Fifth Business
, which one critic said was “as masterfully executed as anything in the history of the novel,” might be described simply as the life of a schoolteacher named Dunstan Ramsay. But such a description would not even suggest the dark currents of love, ambition, vengeance, and death that flow through this powerful work, cast in the form of Ramsay’s memoirs.

“An enigmatic novel, elegantly written and driven by irresistible narrative force.” The New York Times

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    A Celtic Temperament: Robertson Davies as Diarist

      Robertson Davies
A Celtic Temperament: Robertson Davies as Diarist

Versatile and prolific, Robertson Davies was an actor, journalist and newspaper publisher, playwright, essayist, founding master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, and one of Canada’s greatest novelists. He was also an obsessive, complex, and self-revealing diarist. His diaries, which he began as a teenager, grew to over 3 million words and are an astonishing literary legacy. This first published selection of his diaries spans 1959 to 1963, years in which Davies, in mid-life, experienced both daunting failure and unexpected success.

Born in Thamesville, Ontario, in 1913, he was educated at local schools, then Upper Canada College, Queen’s University and Oxford University. He worked in England at the famous Old Vic theatre as an actor and literary advisor before returning to Canada where he became the editor and publisher of the Peterborough Examiner, established himself as a prominent Canadian playwright, and published his first three novels now known as the Salterton Trilogy. By 1959, at the age of forty-five, Robertson Davies was already one of Canada’s leading literary figures. Even so the diaries show that he was frustrated by the limitations of his literary success, often exasperated with the distractions of his daily life and buffeted by his mental and emotional state. They also show that he enjoyed life, was deeply interested in the society he lived in, and in the people he encountered. More often than not he found comedy in the world around him and delighted in recording it. He kept not only a daily journal, but also more focused diaries such as his accounts of the Toronto and New York production of his play Love and Libel, when he worked closely with the great British director Tyrone Guthrie, and of the founding of Massey College, the brainchild of Vincent Massey. The descriptions of backstage and academic politics are invariably entertaining, but in his diaries Davies also reveals himself as intensely self-critical, frequently insecure, and with a highly changeable nature that he described as his “celtic temperament.” We also see him as a partner in an intensely happy and creative marriage, and as a man with an astonishing capacity for hard work. By the end of 1963 his life had taken a new direction. As master of Massey College, he finds himself a public figure, but he is increasingly preoccupied with a new novel he wants to write which he is calling Fifth Business.

The publication of A Celtic Temperament establishes Robertson Davies as one of the great diarists. In their range, variety, intimacy, and honesty his diaries present an extraordinarily rich portrait of the man and his times.

From the Hardcover edition.

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    A Mixture of Frailties

      Robertson Davies
A Mixture of Frailties

Praised as “sterling entertainment” by the New York Times, A Mixture of Frailties is the final novel in Robertson Davies’ wonderfully vivid Salterton Trilogy. Available as an eBook for the first time.

“It’s a muddle, thought Monica. A muddle and I can’t get it straight. I wish I knew what I should do. I wish I even knew what I want to do…I want to go on in the life that has somehow or other found me and claimed me. And I want so terribly to be happy. Oh God, don’t let me slip under the surface of all the heavy-hearted dullness that seems to claim so many people…”

 
A Mixture of Frailties is so much more than the story of Monica Gall's life in London and her education as a singer. It is an account of her education as a human being. The result is a vivid, comic, and frequently moving novel.
 
A Mixture of Frailties is the last novel in The Salterton Trilogy, after Tempest-Tost and Leaven of Malice.

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    Tempest-Tost

      Robertson Davies
Tempest-Tost

The debut novel that launched Robertson Davies’ literary career, Tempest-Tost is a magnificent display of his legendary wit. The first novel in The Salterton Trilogy is now available as an eBook for the first time.

An amateur production of The Tempest provides a colourful backdrop for a hilarious look at unrequited love. Mathematics teacher Hector Mackilwraith, stirred and troubled by Shakespeare’s plays, falls in love with the beautiful Griselda Webster. When Griselda shows she has plans of her own, Hector despairs and tries to commit suicide on the play’s opening night.

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    Murther and Walking Spirits

      Robertson Davies
Murther and Walking Spirits

Murther & Walking Spirits is available as an eBook for the first time.
*
“I was never so amazed in my life as when the Sniffer drew his concealed weapon from its case and struck me to the ground, stone dead.” *

So begins the unusual story of Connor “Gil” Gilmartin when he catches his wife in flagrante with the Sniffer, his former colleague and now his murderer. Though he is struck dead in the very first line of this novel, death is only the first indignity Gil is about to suffer. For he lingers on as a ghost, and from this bleak vantage–made even less endurable by the fact that he must spend the afterlife sitting beside his killer at a film festival–he is forced to view the exploits and failures of his ancestors, from the forerunners who sailed up the Hudson to Canada during the American Revolution right up to his university-professor parents.

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    The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

      Robertson Davies
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks

The earliest of the Samuel Marchbanks volumes, originally published in 1947, is available in e-book form for the first time.

In 1942, two years after returning to Canada from Britain, Robertson Davies took up the role of editor of the Peterborough Examiner. During his tenure as editor at the Examiner, a post he held until 1955, and later as publisher of the newspaper (1955–65), Davies published witty, curmudgeonly, mischievous, and fiercely individualistic editorials under the name of his alter ego, Samuel Marchbanks, “one of the choice and master spirits of his age.”

The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks is funny, delightful, and timeless in revealing one of the most entertaining periods in a Canadian literary giant’s career. 

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    The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks

      Robertson Davies
The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks

The book that marked the first appearance in the United States of Robertson Davies’ mischievous alter ego, Samuel Marchbanks, is now available as an eBook for the first time.

In 1942, two years after returning to Canada from Britain, Robertson Davies took up the role of editor of the Peterborough Examiner. During his tenure as editor at the Examiner, a post he held until 1955, and later as publisher of the newspaper (1955–65), Davies published witty, curmudgeonly, mischievous, and fiercely individualistic editorials under the name of his alter ego, Samuel Marchbanks, “one of the choice and master spirits of his age.”

In this single volume, first published in 1985, the “gentle headwaiter to Marchbanks’ splendid banquet” has edited and selected from his alter ego’s observations to bring together previous titles in the Marchbanks bibliography: The Diary (1947), The Table Talk (1949), and Samuel Marchbanks’ Almanack (1967). 

Here is treasure! Marchbanks on politics, on his furnace, on theatre, on the taxman, on trains, on Christmas, on book-banners, on manners, indeed on everything under the sun! Not only this, but Davies’ copious and quite delectable Notes are “calculated to remove all Difficulties caused by the passage of Time and to offer the Wisdom, not to speak of Whimsicality, of this astonishing man to the Modern Public, in the most convenient form.” Reviewing the first edition of Papers for the New York Times in 1986, Davies’ longtime friend John Kenneth Galbraith said: “Not many journalists would wish to risk having their daily efflux dug out and published after a lapse of 40 years. . . . This writing of four decades ago is consistently incisive, insulting, funny, relevant and altogether interesting.”

The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks, best savoured at leisure, and returned to time and again, “offers a humourous and insightful picture of postwar Canadian life as seen through the eyes of a delightful eccentric who reminds . . . of a boozeless W.C. Fields.” Charles Bishop, English Dept., University of New Orleans.

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    World of Wonders

      Robertson Davies
World of Wonders

World of Wonders, the concluding novel in Robertson Davies’ celebrated Deptford Trilogy, is available as an e-book for the first time.

Called “a spectacular, soaring work, an astounding tour de force unequaled in recent literature,” World of Wonders follows the story of Magnus Eisengrim—the most illustrious magician of his age—who is spirited away from his home by a member of a traveling sideshow, the Wanless World of Wonders.

“One of the great modern novelists.” Sunday Times

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    Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack

      Robertson Davies
Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack

The third of Robertson Davies' editions of Samuel Marchbanks' writings, and originally published by McClelland & Stewart in 1967, Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack is available here in e-book for the first time ever.

In 1942, two years after returning to Canada from Britain, Robertson Davies took up the role of editor of the Peterborough Examiner, in the small city of Peterborough, Ontario, northeast of Toronto. During his tenure as editor at the Examiner, a post he held until 1955, and later as publisher of the newspaper (1955–65), Davies published witty, curmudgeonly, mischievous, and fiercely individualistic editorials under the name of his alter ego, Samuel Marchbanks, "one of the choice and master spirits of his age."
Taking pen in hand, Samuel Marchbanks, philosopher, purveyor of trivia and benefactor of mankind, once again proves there is nothing so beneficial to the weary and heavy-laden of the world as a good belly laugh. As...
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    Leaven of Malice

      Robertson Davies
Leaven of Malice

Winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Leaven of Malice is the second novel in Robertson Davies’ much-loved Salterton Trilogy. Available as an eBook for the first time.

The following announcement appeared in the Salterton Evening Bellman: “Professor and Mrs. Walter Vambrace are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Pearl Veronica, to Solomon Bridgetower, Esq., son of . . .”

Although the malice that prompted this false engagement notice was aimed at three people only–Solly Bridgetower, Pearl Vambrace, and Gloster Ridley, the anxiety-ridden local newspaper editor–before the leaven of malice had ceased to work it had changed permanently, for good or ill, the lives of many citizens of Salterton.

This is the second novel in The Salterton Trilogy (which also includes Tempest-Tost and A Mixture of Frailties).

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    The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks

      Robertson Davies
The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks

The second of the Samuel Marchbanks volumes, originally published in 1949, is available in eBook form for the first time.

In 1942, two years after returning to Canada from Britain, Robertson Davies took up the role of editor of the Peterborough Examiner. During his tenure as editor at the Examiner, a post he held until 1955, and later as publisher of the newspaper (1955–65), Davies published witty, curmudgeonly, mischievous, and fiercely individualistic editorials under the name of his alter ego, Samuel Marchbanks, “one of the choice and master spirits of his age.”

The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks gathers together a number of Marchbanks' columns from 1947 and 1948, presenting them as observations purportedly made by Marchbanks during a seven-course formal dinner. Funny, delightful, and timeless, The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks reveals one of the most entertaining periods in a Canadian literary giant’s career. 

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