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Peterman, Michael.

Boston, Twayne, c1986. 178pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-8057-66294. (Twayne's World Authors series #780. Canadian Literature). Distributed by ECW Press. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Alan Thomas

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

This critical survey of Robertson Davies's work begins with his years as editor of the Peterborough Examiner and moves through his middle-period plays and novels to the period of the eighties, in which he has become a well-known author in the English-speaking world. Treatment of the fiction of the latest period. The Rebel Angels* and What's Bred in the Hone (Macmillun, 1985) is relatively slight (the last only gains a mention in the preface) and the book is much stronger and fuller on the early work. A biographical opening chapter travels with confident speed through Davies's growing up in small-city Ontario and his move to Oxford as a student and then to the Old Vic. London, as general dogsbody and junior dramaturge. Peterman's discussion of the Samuel Marchbanks column, which Davies wrote for the Examiner after his return to Canada, is excellent in its sense of the man in the community, and provides a grounding for understanding of the novels that ensue. The discussion of these is necessarily brief in a book of small compass, but will certainly provide a useful starting point for high school and college students. This plain, sensible book includes an annotated bibliography for further critical reading, a chronology of Davies's life,and an index.

Alan Thomas, Scarborough College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Out.

*Reviewed vol. x/2 1982p.82.

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