Show Less
Restricted access

Aspects of Robertson Davies’ Novels

Victor J. Lams

Completing the survey begun in Lams’ Cornish Trilogy volume, Aspects of Robertson Davies’ Novels discusses the Salterton and Deptford trilogies along with Davies’ last two novels, Murther & Walking Spirits and The Cunning Man. The apprentice effort Tempest-Tost and the journeyman’s success Leaven of Malice were followed by Davies’ first genuinely fine novel, A Mixture of Frailties, the story of a talented Salterton girl who becomes a world-famous soprano. The Deptford trilogy is discussed in terms of Northrop Frye’s «confession» form as it appears in Fifth Business, and in variations of that form in The Manticore and World of Wonders. Although Davies’ Jungian enthusiasms produced certain flaws to which readers have objected, Murther & Walking Spirits is by no means a failure; it is best understood as an implicit spiritual history of Canada which is adumbrated in the generational experience of a single Canadian family. The Cunning Man concludes Davies’ career with a narrative as rewardingly complex as any of the Cornish trilogy novels.