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Robertson Davies’s Cornish Trilogy

A Reader’s Guide

Victor J. Lams

Robertson Davies’s Cornish Trilogy: A Reader’s Guide is the first book-length study of Davies’s best work: The Rebel Angels, What’s Bred in the Bone, and The Lyre of Orpheus. In The Rebel Angels, Maria and Darcourt alternate in narrating the novel’s theme (obsession) before escaping from its grip by their mutual assistance, while other characters are less fortunate. What’s Bred in the Bone narrates the artistic development of Canadian painter Francis Cornish, which is crowned by his stunning Marriage at Cana, an iconographic presentation of his personal myth; a color reproduction of Bronzino’s Allegory exemplifies their stylistic kinship. While The Lyre of Orpheus is ostensibly focused on the completion and staging of an unfinished Hoffmann opera, it narrates the ameliorative personal development of the characters who interact during that project.