The Deptford Trilogy

The Deptford Trilogy Who killed Boy Staunton This is the question that lies at the heart of Robertson Davies s elegant trilogy comprising Fifth Business The Manticore and World of Wonders Indeed Staunton s death is the

  • Title: The Deptford Trilogy
  • Author: Robertson Davies
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 191
  • Format: Paperback
  • Who killed Boy Staunton This is the question that lies at the heart of Robertson Davies s elegant trilogy comprising Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders Indeed, Staunton s death is the central event of each of the three novels, and Rashomon style, each circles round to view it from a different perspective In the first book, Fifth Business, Davies intro Who killed Boy Staunton This is the question that lies at the heart of Robertson Davies s elegant trilogy comprising Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders Indeed, Staunton s death is the central event of each of the three novels, and Rashomon style, each circles round to view it from a different perspective In the first book, Fifth Business, Davies introduces us to Dunstan Ramsey and his lifelong friend and enemy, Percy Boyd Staunton, both aged 10 It is a winter evening in the small Canadian village of Deptford, and Ramsey and Boy have quarreled In a rage, Boy throws a snowball with a stone in it, misses his friend and hits the Baptist minister s pregnant wife by mistake She becomes hysterical and later that night delivers her child prematurely, a baby with birth defects Even worse, she loses her mind The snowball, the stone, the deformed baby christened Paul Dempster this is the secret guilt that will bind Ramsey and Staunton together through their long lives I was perfectly sure, you see, that the birth of Paul Dempster, so small, so feeble, and troublesome, was my fault If I had not been so clever, so sly, so spiteful in hopping in front of the Dempsters just as Percy Boyd Staunton threw that snowball at me from behind, Mrs Dempster would not have been struck Did I never think that Percy was guilty Indeed I did Boy, however, would fight, lie, do anything rather than admit he feels guilty, too, and so the subject remains unresolved between them right up until the night Boy s body is found in his car, in a lake, with a stone in his mouth The second novel, The Manticore, follows Staunton s son, David, through a course of Jungian therapy in Switzerland, while World of Wonders concentrates on Magnus Eisengrim, a renowned magician and hypnotist with ties to both Ramsey and Boy Staunton.When it came to writing, three was Davies s favorite number Before the Deptford books, he wrote The Salterton Trilogy Tempest Tost, Leaven of Malice, A Mixture of Frailties , and after it came The Cornish Trilogy The Rebel Angels, What s Bred in the Bone, The Lyre of Orpheus Excellent as these and Davies s other novels are, The Deptford Trilogy is arguably the masterpiece for which he ll best be remembered, as the combination of magic, archetype, and good, old fashioned human frailty at work in these novels is a world of wonders unto itself, and guarantees these three books a permanent place among the great books of our time Alix Wilber

    One thought on “The Deptford Trilogy”

    1. How do I even begin this? I spent about two weeks reading this and that's a lot of time for people to be asking: "so what is it about?"It's usually non-readers who ask such questions because readers know better than to ask what a 800 page book is about. But I thought about it and decided that it was mostly about subjectivity of experience. Not that it made sense to anyone who asked.It was three books and each one of them a different kind of wonderful. It all starts in a small village of Deptford [...]

    2. Mr Davies is the Magus, the Magician. I'm sure this must be at least the third time that I've read Fifth Business, and it never palls. He has such an ease and breadth of narration, such elegance and gentle irony. You relax into this kind of authoritative voice, luxuriate in its reassuring comfort. And all the while the magic spell silently twists into position, so that you swallow the most unlikely of coincidences, the slightly one-sided female figures, the rather too obvious a contrast between [...]

    3. A wonderful trilogy, by an incredible writer. Each of the three novels looks back on a man’s life. The first, Fifth Business, is a letter from a school teacher to his old headmaster, attempting to show that his life was much more than anyone ever saw at school, and it touches on saints, war, madness and artificial legs. The second book, The Manticore, is notes from the Jungian analysis of a wealthy Canadian lawyer, touching on archetypes, alcoholism, first love and death-masks.The third, World [...]

    4. Read most of this book under the shadow of Cortez's Cathedral in Mexico sitting by a pool and smoking really bad pot. Anyways, somebody I barely know suggested it. I'm glad he did got me through a tough time. Took my mind to another place when it was in another place to begin with. Something quaint and imaginative about the way he writes, like a master storyteller with no other agenda than the story at hand.

    5. After reading ''A Moralist Possessed by Humor': A Conversation With Robertson Davies" in the February 5, 1995 edition of the New York Times Book Review, I was intrigued by this man of mirth--a literary unknown to me--to give his books a try. If I recall correctly, the only book available at the library that day was "Fifth Business" the first in this Deptford Trilogy. As is my habit, I cracked the spine open and took in the first page, to see if the style and content piqued my interest.Needless t [...]

    6. From the snapshots you can find online, Robertson Davies looked like Charles Darwin with a touch of Santa Claus. The Canadian author had a long white forked beard that was strikingly demode in the 1970s when he delivered the three books of this excellent Deptford Trilogy. And yet, don't be fooled by the first appearances. You better look more carefully at the photos of Mr Davies. If you do that, you will perceive genuine wit and an eager inquisitiveness in his eyes as well as the intimidating ir [...]

    7. FIFTH BUSINESS==============This is a good book. It doesn't belong to my favorite class of artistic works, which I think of as the "Fire and Forked Lightning" variety. But it's quite good. Roberston Davies tells his tale in a slightly detached, leisurely pace that I'm tempted to attribute to his being from Canada. The story certainly doesn't hit you like a hollywood movie plot ride. It's thoughtful and takes it's time, but it's a good story -- basically the entire story of one man's life, with s [...]

    8. Whenever I mention this book the very few who recognize it ask me if I am Canadian.No, I am not Canadian.This book skirts a very fine line between the entirely possible and the gothically surreal. Told in trilogy form the story sprawls in the best possible way. The book is worth reading simply to gain the aquaintance of the narrating character. (I'm not sure I have crushed so hard on a literary figure since Schmendrick the Magician.)His views and musings are so fresh and well put that I, heaven [...]

    9. I know that is is supposed to be a fantastic trilogy but it really didn't do it for me. Was I too young the first time around? Perhaps. If enough GR friends push me to do so, I'll give it another shot.

    10. Three volumes of the “Deptford Trilogy” each narrated by a different character by way of some form of memoir. Fifth Business is narrated by Dunstable (later Dunstan) Ramsay, a schoolteacher who grows up in the fictional Deptford. The novel takes the form of a letter Ramsay writes to the headmaster of the school from which he has just retired, wherein he recalls how, as a boy, he ducked a snowball wrapped around a stone intended for him. The snowball hit a pregnant woman who happened to be pa [...]

    11. Robertson Davies was a big fan of Jungian psychology, so if you enjoy archetypes in literature this will be a true character identification feast. How each narrator perceives the world around them plays also a big part in solving the Mysterious Death that drives the plot, so you get to play the shrink-detective.The Best: * The dialogue. Except when Magnus rambles, where it gets a bit stiff. * The female characters (except for Leola Cruikshanks and Doctor Jo) and the fact the sexiest woman in the [...]

    12. La primera vez que conocí éste libro fue a través de la revista de Circulo de lectores. Me llamó la atención, ya a simple vista, por su aire "vintage", de modo que decidí ponerme a indagar más sobre él. Reúne las tres partes de la trilogía: "El quinto en discordia", "Mantícora" y "El mundo de los prodigios". Yo os hablaré hoy de la primera.En todos los blogs y páginas que consultaba, solamente encontré elogios y buenas palabras, catalogando la trilogía como "obra maestra" así que [...]

    13. The first thing that came to my mind when I finished this books was "thank God that's over with"I really enjoyed this book when I started it, but around 1/2 to 3/4 of the way I just wanted it to end, for me that's normally a bad sign because when I love a book I'm almost depressed to finish it.The book definitely has some clever aspects to it which is easily played upon by Roberston Davies the narration is almost a triptych view of the main characters, But it's heavily based around character sub [...]

    14. I am forever indebted to my friend Donna Durham (Donna, where are you now?) for introducing me to Robertson Davies and The Deptford Trilogy. Some have described these books as examples of magical realism; well, yes, sort of, as written by a Canadian. The trilogy consists of three books: Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. The books each tell the same story from the point of view of a different character and center around the murder of Percy "Boy" Staunton. Fifth Business, my fav [...]

    15. We have educated ourselves into a world from which wonder, and the fear and dread and splendour and freedom of wonder have been banished. Of course wonder is costly. You couldn't incorporate it into a modern state, because it is the antithesis of the anxiously worshipped security which is what a modern state is asked to give. Wonder is marvellous but it is also cruel, cruel, cruel. It is undemocratic, discriminatory, and pitiless. (Liesl)Robertson Davies' three-part masterpiece is a sprawling in [...]

    16. My now 81 yr. old father is a misanthropic pack-rat who lives a rich mental life through books while outwardly barely functioning as a decent man. His attic, like his mind, is insulated entirely by books and that is where I discovered Robertson Davies, who I was not expected to understand at age 15. I devoured the trilogy nonetheless and came to understand, if nothing else, the rigidness of sexuality in the first part of the 20th century as well as the religious underpinnings (guilt and an over- [...]

    17. As the title implies, this book is actually three novels, Fifth Business, The Manticore and World of Wonders. Although the books differ from each other, they are all linked by the trilogy's central premise. How are we accountable for our actions, however trivial, and how far reaching are the consequences of the decisions we make?Two boys are snowball fighting in a small Canadian town at the turn of the century. One throws a snowball which contains a stone, and misses its target, hitting the past [...]

    18. Just recalled this author and the best of his trilogies. Read the reviewe books are elegant, cleverly funny, inventive, never predicable. reads! I would love to read and discuss with you!!THIS IS ANOTHER TRILOGY WE HAD DISCUSSED READING TOGETHERI AM CURIOUS AS TO HOW I WILL LIKE THE READ, THE SECOND TIME AROUND.

    19. I found these to be a strangely smooth, soothing reading experience. Plus, I got to learn about obscure hagiography and Jungian psychoanalysis.

    20. The Deptford Trilogy--A Canadian Bulgakov, if you can wrap your head around that--magical, dark, comedic, and mysterious. Robertson Davies deserves to be read and reread and reread.

    21. Wonderful trilogy - my favorite of Davies trilogies------From "Who killed Boy Staunton?"This is the question that lies at the heart of Robertson Davies's elegant trilogy comprising Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. Indeed, Staunton's death is the central event of each of the three novels, and Rashomon-style, each circles round to view it from a different perspective. In the first book, Fifth Business, Davies introduces us to Dunstan Ramsey and his "lifelong friend and enemy, P [...]

    22. I guess I was at something of a low point when this book called to me from my shelves. My copy looked awful, bent and blackened, and it was only on a whim that I, a month or so earlier, decided to relieve my parents shelves of it where it had stood for 10years with little hope of being read again. That my current state should make me call for the Deptford Trilogy made perfect sense. I had read all of Robertson-Davies novels during a 2 year period about a decade or so ago. Murther and walking spi [...]

    23. I don't read; I re-read. The first time I read a book it's an audition. And the finest pleasure offered by this habit is to read a familiar, beloved work and find that it's better than you thought. I was traveling this last while, and so reread The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies for perhaps the fifth or sixth time. I'd first read it out of order, and that jostling affected all later readings. This time I took it in as a single novel in three parts, and it was much more ambitious and meanin [...]

    24. I reviewed each of the three books in this trilogy as I finished them, but I figured I'd review the series as a whole as well. I was not looking forward to reading Fifth Business much at all. And, sad to say, it was in large part due to the fact that I hated the first cover I saw of it so much. It's a stupid reason, I know.Anyway, almost as soon as I opened the thing up, I was competely hooked. Davies has such a way with words. It's not an action-packed book by any stretch of the imagination. It [...]

    25. I picked up a battered mass market paperback copy of FIFTH BUSINESS off the street in May, on the simple principle that I had heard good things about it and it was free, and stuck it in my bag as lightweight (size wise) reading for a trip to Arizona in June. These were both excellent spur of the moment decisions -- the very kind of tiny choices that Davies writes about here as influencing our whole lives.If Boy Staunton hadn't thrown the stoneIf Dunstan Ramsey hadn't duckedIf Mrs. Dempster hadn' [...]

    26. A wonderful trilogy."Fifth Business" is another delightful Davies story. This one follows the life of Dunstan Ramsay as he tells his story. Small events of no apparant importance come back in large, important ways. I enjoyed "The Manticore", which is told from David Staunton’s point of view. It has some overlap with Fifth Business but David’s point of view and makes them complete. David tries to come to terms with his relationship with his father through therapy. Some of the same characters [...]

    27. I adore this book. It's about a thousand pages and I was grateful for every one of them, because I never wanted it to end. The characters became to me like people I truly knew, and they are written with such adeptness and acumen that I was half-convinced they were all real and existed somewhere. The magic of this book lasts a long time after the last page has turned.This book follows four characters over the course of their lives. It is essentially a character sketch, founded on conversations an [...]

    28. This was a second read, part of checking to see how old favorites stand up after the rigors of RWW and "close reading". I am happy to announce that Robertson Davies stands up very well indeed. His ability to write an entire book within the POV of a single narrator and carry it off--is astonishing. Fifth Business, the first of the trilogy, is mesmerizing, which, given the character is in character. The second, The Manticore, isn't quite as engaging, because the narrator isn't a lovable guy. We ca [...]

    29. I wasn't enthralled with this trilogy that has to do with big themes of saintliness, illusion, friendship, and betrayal, played out on the little stage of a few people's lives, people who all started out in the tiny Canadian town of Deptford: Dunstan, the bachelor academic; Boy Staunton, the powerful businessman; David, drunken but brilliant lawyer and Boy's son; and Magnus, the world-famous magician. Each book in the trilogy re-examines the same lives from a different point of view. I came away [...]

    30. This trilogy deals with secrets that bind the lives of those who share them. The three books are not as linear as the other trilogies: the 3 volumes deal with the same event, the death of a character, seen from various angles. I did find interesting that the art that Robertson Davies chose to pair up the art of magic with themes such as guilt, secrets, depression, insanity and, of course, psychotherapy.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *