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The cinematic vision of Robertson Davies

The Story


Robertson Davies has higher hopes for the afterlife than the "gorgeous vegetable existence" envisioned by so many. Best known for his Deptford Trilogy of the 1970s, Davies has a new book in 1991 - Murther and Walking Spirits, a tale told by a dead man. In a conversation with Eleanor Wachtel of CBC Radio's Writers and Company, Davies explains how the book uses film - "one of the great artistic developments of our era" - to explore what happens in the afterlife.

Medium: Radio
Program: Writers & Company
Broadcast Date: Sept. 29, 1991
Guest: Robertson Davies
Host: Eleanor Wachtel
Duration: 43:31
This clip was edited for copyright reasons.
Photo: AP Photo/Tom Keller

Did You know?


• Fifth Business, the first book in the Deptford Trilogy and a staple of Canadian high school reading lists, was Davies's 22nd book. His previous works had mostly been met with indifference, but Fifth Business became a bestseller in the United States.
• Davies was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1986 for his novel What's Bred in the Bone.
• In this clip, Robertson Davies says he believes Murther and Walking Spirits will be his last novel. He was wrong; in 1994 he published The Cunning Man.
• Davies died on Dec. 2, 1995, but he had yet to debut another work: The Golden Ass, an opera for which he furnished the libretto. He had written the words but died before the music was ready; the Canadian Opera Company staged it in 1999 to positive reviews.


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