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Robertson DAVIES Edit Profile

writer and professor of English

Robertson DAVIES, Canadian writer and professor of English. Medal for Humour 1955; Medal of Royal Society; Award for Fiction 1973; Award 1986; Award for Fiction 1986; Medal of Honour for Literature; other awards. American Academy, and Institute of Arts and Letters 1980.


DAVIES, Robertson was born on August 28, 1913 in Thamesville, Ontario. Son of William Rupert Davies and Florence Sheppard Davies (nee Mackay).


Student, Upper Canada College. Student, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. Doctor of Laws, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, 1962.

BLitt, Oxford University, (England), 1938. Doctor of Laws, University Alberta, Edmonton, 1957. Doctor of Laws, University Manitoba, 1972.

Doctor of Laws, University Calgary, 1975. Doctor of Laws, University Toronto, 1981. Doctor of Laws, University Prince Edward Island, 1989.

Doctor of Letters, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 1959. Doctor of Letters, University Windsor, Ontario, 1971. Doctor of Letters, York University, 1973.

Doctor of Letters, Mount Allison University, 1973. Doctor of Letters, Memorial University, 1974. Doctor of Letters, University Western Ontario, 1974.

Doctor of Letters, McGill University, 1974. Doctor of Letters, Trent University, 1974. Doctor of Letters, University Lethbridge, 1981.

Doctor of Letters, University Waterloo, 1981. Doctor of Letters, University British Columbia, 1983. Doctor of Letters, University Santa Clara, 1985.

Doctor of Letters, Trinity College, Dublin, 1990. Doctor of Letters, University Oxford, 1991., University Wales, 1995.

Data Control Language, Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec, 1967. Doctor of Humane Letters, University Rochester, 1983. Doctor of Humane Letters, Dowling College, New York, 1992.

Doctor of Humane Letters, Loyola University, Chicago, 1994. DSL, Thornloe College University Sudbury, 1988.


Teacher, actor, Old Vic Theatre school and Repertory Company, London, England., 1938-1940; literature editor, Saturday Night, Toronto, Ontario, 1940-1942; editor public, Examiner, Peterborough, Ontario, 1942-1968; Professor of English, U. Toronto, 1960-1981; master, Massey College, 1962-1981. Past Board of Governors Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival.


  • Davies is mostly a novelist of ideas, with characters engaged in metaphysical debate about fleshly temptations and the struggle between God and the Devil. In What's Bred in the Bone (1985), the obscure meanings of the hero's life are revealed by two angels, who ponder over the questions of free will and predestination, chance and fate. In Murther & Walking Spirits (1991), the protagonist narrator is murdered in the first sentence and then, as a ghost, spends the rest of the book watching films about his ancestral past A collection of Davies' speeches, One Half of Robertson Davies (1977), focuses on excellence in the arts, precision in language, and decency in the conduct of human affairs, concerns that dominate all his work. In The Cunning Man (1995), about the adventures of a Toronto physician with an unusual ability for medical diagnosis, centers squarely on some of Davies' major themes: the interaction of religion and science, poetry and medicine, theater and psychoanalysis.



Fellow Royal Society Canada, Royal Society Literature. Member American Academy and Institute Arts and Letters (honorary) M C.


  • Other Interests

    Music, theatre.


Married Brenda Mathews, 1940. Three children.

William Rupert Davies

Florence Sheppard Davies (nee Mackay)

Brenda Mathews