The Merry Heart: Reflections on Reading, Writing, and the World of Books (Paperback)
"A splendid gallimaufry of the eminent Canadian's talks and essays, mostly about literature and the creative life . . . a thought-filled and amusing book."--The Washington Post For devotees of Davies and all lovers of literature and language, here is the "urbanity, wit, and high seriousness mixed by a master chef," vintage delights from an exquisite literary menu (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Robertson Davies's rich and varied collection of writings on the world of books and the miracle of language captures his inimitable voice and sustains his presence among us. Coming almost entirely from Davies's own files of unpublished material, these twenty-four essays and lectures range over themes from "The Novelist and Magic" to "Literature and Technology," from "Painting, Fiction, and Faking," to "Can a Doctor Be a Humanist?" and "Creativity in Old Age." Davies himself says merely: "Lucky writers . . . like wine, die rich in fruitiness and delicious aftertaste, so that their works survive them." "Splendid--wise, witty, wide-ranging."--The New York Times Book Review "Some of Davies's ideas are iconoclastic, and will delight those who share them while stimulating those who do not. All his judgments are interesting, steeped in humanism, and most elegantly put."--The Atlantic Monthly "The inimitable novelist gives an exuberant posthumous performance in this eclectic collection of (mostly) previously unpublished addresses, talks, and incidental pieces . . . Davies diffuses his opinions entertainingly, if occasionally superficially, but never loses his audience."--Kirkus Reviews
Robertson Davies (1913-1995) was born and raised in Ontario, and was educated at a variety of schools, including Upper Canada College, Queen's University, and Balliol College, Oxford. He had three successive careers: as an actor with the Old Vic Company in England; as publisher of the Peterborough Examiner; and as university professor and first Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, from which he retired in 1981 with the title of Master Emeritus. He was one of Canada's most distinguished men of letters, with several volumes of plays and collections of essays, speeches, and belles lettres to his credit. As a novelist, he gained worldwide fame for his three trilogies: The Salterton Trilogy, The Deptford Trilogy, and The Cornish Trilogy, and for later novels Murther and Walking Spirits and The Cunning Man. His career was marked by many honors: He was the first Canadian to be made an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and he received honorary degrees from twenty-six American, Canadian, and British universities.