Writings on the Theatre and Other Lively ArtsBook - 1997
The Happy Alchemy in this delightful book blends witty entertainment with thought-provoking instruction. Touching on everything from Shakespeare's Falstaff to Canada's constitutional wrangles ("our own version of a civil war") and from "How I Write a Book" to Richard Wagner, "that extraordinary genius and dreadful crook," this is in every way a worthy companion toThe Merry Heart. This book also draws on the polished but unpublished speeches, book reviews, and other articles that Robertson Davies left behind. Here, too, the book's editors, Jennifer Surridge and Brenda Davies, have produced tantalizing quotes from his private diaries to help introduce each of the book's thirty-three pieces of prose (and verse, libretto, and even screenplay). Most of the pieces deal with the theatre -- from the day-long ancient Greek drama festivals "with an audience of 17,000 Athenians looking on," through Shakespeare's theatre and on to Davies' own youthful "Prologue toThe Good Natur'd Man" (accepted at the Old Vic as pure Oliver Goldsmith), to his beloved nineteenth-century theatre and melodrama. Since, in his words, "melodrama lives in our opera houses," it is a short step from there to his passion for opera and from Verdi to the surprising confessions of "My Musical Career." Many readers will be astonished by his knowledgeable enthusiasm for folk-song; few by his acknowledgement of his great debt to C.G. Jung in his work. At the end of this stimulating and revealing book he returns to his love of the theatre and his admiration for the great playwrights, summed up in his haunting final line "…and I applaud them across the centuries." Across the years the distinctive, absolutely unmistakable voice of Robertson Davies will continue to ring out from these pages.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c1997
Branch Call Number: CH/REF 819.454 Davie 3558ad 1
Characteristics: xii, 384 p