Canadian Author Robertson Davies Dies

Canadian author Robertson Davies, whose forgiving, lighthearted treatment of emotionally troubled characters won him an international audience, has died. He was 82.

Davies died Saturday night in a hospital in Orangeville, 50 miles northwest of Toronto, after suffering a stroke, secretary Moira Whalon said Sunday.

“He thought life was fascinating,” his wife Brenda said in an interview Sunday with Canadian Press. “He was very keen that they should take a look at it as magical, fascinating, extraordinary.”

The author of more than 30 plays and novels, Davies’ best-known works are two trilogies written in the 1970s and 1980s packed with magic, arcana and Jungian theories.

Davies’ work has been translated into 17 languages, and he was mentioned as a possible winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in literature, which was won by American novelist and essayist Toni Morrison.

His last novel, “The Cunning Man,” was a best seller this year. He was planning to write another book after Christmas dealing with his old age, his wife said.

Davies’ best-known novels had a generous mix of greed and murder, adultery and blackmail, heartache and insanity. But he also set a light, generous tone.

He attended Oxford’s Balliol College and later acted and taught at London’s celebrated Old Vic Theater, where he met his wife, an Australian stage manager named Brenda Mathews.

He returned to Canada in the 1940s and worked in journalism and began his literary career.

The trilogy “Fifth Business” (1970), “The Manticore” (1972) and “World of Wonders” (1975) centered on the fictional Ontario town of Deptford. “The Manticore” won the 1973 Governor General’s award for fiction.

The later trilogy - “Rebel Angels” (1981), “What’s Bred in the Bone” (1985) and “The Lyre of Orpheus” (1988) - revolved around the life of a mysterious art collector.

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