[From Series Two Samuel Marchbanks’ Almanack]
Playwright, novelist, critic, essayist, humourist, former actor, newspaper publisher, Professor of English and Master of Massey College, Robertson Davies is a man of infinite variety. He was born in Thamesville, Ontario, in 1913, the son of the Hon. William Rupert Davies, and the extension of a long line of progeny “…especially lacking in U.E.L. blood.”
A long attachment to processes of education began in Renfrew and Kingston schools, and continued through Upper Canada College, Toronto, Queen’s University, Kingston, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he received his B.Lit.
Since his return to Canada in 1940 he has been Editor of Saturday Night, and of the Peterborough Examiner, to which he was appointed Publisher in 1958. He became the first Master of Massey College (at the University of Toronto) when it opened in 1963, a position which he still maintains. He has also become a full professor there, and has acquired a number of other degrees over the years.
Mr. Davies’ many plays include Fortune My Foe, the best Canadian play at the Dominion Drama Festival of 1949, At My Heart’s Core, Hunting Stuart and Love and Lihel. He collaborated with Sir Tyrone Guthrie on three books about Ontario’s Stratford Shakespearean Festival (of which he is a Governor), and he displays his gifts as an essayist par excellence in A Voice From the Attic. His other books include three novels, Tempest Tost, Leaven of Malice and A Mixture of Frailties, and two other “Marchbanks” books, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, and The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks; his work has appeared in such magazines as Atlantic Monthly, Saturday Evening Post, and the New York Times.
Mr. Davies is married to Brenda Mathews, former Stage Manager of the Old Vic in London, and has three children. He lives in Massey College, and and is at present working on his fourth novel, and one volume of a projected History of Drama in Canada.
Books in the NCL: