Happy Alchemy: On the Pleasures of Music and the Theatre

Happy Alchemy: On the Pleasures of Music and the Theatre


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Happy Alchemy: On the Pleasures of Music and the Theatre by Robertson Davies

A posthumous treasury of brilliant essays that shines with Davies's unmistakable wit, erudition, and magic.

One of Canada's--and the world's--most beloved authors, Robertson Davies was also a devoted fan of opera and the theater. In this follow-up to his first posthumous collection, A Merry Heart, Davies ruminates on these lifelong passions, offering a diverse sampling of personal reflections on everything from the ancient Greeks to Lewis Carroll, Scottish folklore to Laurence Olivier, the sins of Verdi to the virtues of melodrama. The combined effect of these thirty-three essays, lectures, plays, and librettos-- edited by his widow and daughter--is true alchemy, as "readers . . . come away with a renewed appreciation of the ease with which Davies routinely transformed his sometimes erudite passions into delightful entertainments" (The New York Times Book Review).

The book in thoroughly entertaining fashion acquaints us with Davies' expansive erudition and gift for rendering literary and historical complexities in simple, human terms." --The New York Times

"Lovingly collected. . . . A welcome addition to a corpus like no other in contemporary literature." --Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670880195
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/01/1998
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.34(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.29(d)

About the Author

Robertson Davies was born and raised in Ontario and was educated at a variety of schools, Upper Canada College, Queen’s University, and Balliol College, Oxford. He had three successive careers: first as an actor with the Old Vic Company in England; then as publisher of the Peterborough Examiner; and most recently as a university professor and first Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, from which he retired in 1981.

He was without doubt one of Canada’s most distinguished men of letters, with over thirty books to his credit, among them several volumes of plays, as well as collections of essays, speeches, and belles lettres. As a novelist he gained fame far beyond Canada’s borders, especially for his Deptford trilogy, Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders, and for his last five novels, The Rebel Angels, What’s Bred in the Bone, The Lyre of Orpheus, Murther & Walking Spirit, and The Cunning Man.

His career was marked by many honours: he was, for example, the first Canadian to become an honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and Honorary Fellow of Balliol, and received an honorary D.Litt. from Oxford.

Robertson Davies passed away in 1995.

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