Canadian author Robertson Davies is born on this day in the town of Thamesville in Ontario, Canada.
Davies was the son of a publisher and politician who owned the Canadian newspaper the Peterborough Examiner. He attended college in Ontario and later in Oxford, England. He stayed in England after finishing his degree and worked for two years acting, directing, and teaching at London’s Old Vic theater. He tried his own hand at writing drama in the 1940s and 1950s, without enormous success.
When he returned to Canada, he became literary editor of a Toronto magazine, then edited for the Peterborough Examiner from 1962 to 1963. He began teaching English for the University of Toronto in 1960 and continued for more than 20 years. Meanwhile, he wrote novels, turning out more than 30 books of fiction, plus essays, articles, and nonfiction books. He was best known for his three trilogies, most notably the Deptford trilogy, including Fifth Business (1970), The Manticore (1972), and World of Wonders (1975). The trilogy followed the intertwined lives of three men from the small Canadian town of Deptford. His other well-know works included the Salterton trilogy in the 1950s, set in the provincial Canadian town of Salterton and dealing with fictional small-town events like a chaotic production of The Tempest, a small-town family feud, and a young woman training to be an opera singer. Later works included What’s Bread in the Bone (1985), as well as many other novels and nonfiction books. Davies became the first Canadian admitted to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He died in 1995 at the age of 82.