Robertson Davies (1913–1995) was the foremost man of letters in Canada—and that by far—and if I knew enough of Canadian letters I would be tempted to argue that he is their greatest ever. In the event, his is the bar that anyone else must clear. Playwright and man of the theater, newspaperman, columnist, magazine editor, critic, and, above all, a novelist of great range and depth, prolific as ironist and humorist, as at home among ideas and with a variety of literatures as with manners, Davies was, in his spare time, headmaster (the first) of Massey College (University of Toronto, endowed in 1962 by the Massey Foundation—of the Massey family we know the actor Raymond best), and for twenty years a fellow of Trinity College in Toronto.

Davies’s bibliography begins in 1949 with a play, Fortune, My Foe, and an essay collection,


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