Remembering a Favorite Canadian Novelist—Robertson Davies Visits a NY Hotel Room

Canadian novelist Robertson Davies (1913-95) in the Dorset Hotel, NY, 1988. From a NY Times story yesterday about the Ryerson Image Center in Toronto. Davies has since the 1980s been a favorite novelist of mine, when I sold hundreds of copies of his books at Undercover Books in Cleveland.

At the Great Gray Bridge I wrote about Davies in 2013 on the 100th anniversary of his birth, when CanadaPost made a stamp in his honor. With my web designer Harry Candelario, I later adapted the stamp into a motif for this blog.

Elsewhere, on Honourary Canadian, I shared several letters I received from Davies when I was selling his books, and marketing executives at his publisher, Viking Press, asked me to encourage other publishers to read and recommend his books. One of Davies’ letters was a response to my question for him after a visit I had made to London, which included a pilgrimage to a statue honoring the great thespian Henry Irving. Davies wrote to me on May 30, 1980:

“You will not find any magicians or jugglers under Henry Irving’s statue in London now because they have put flower beds around it, but at the time that Magnus Eisengrim [of The Deptford Trilogy] performed there it was flat pavement and street performers of all kinds gave their exhibitions there and on the outskirts there were always a number of pavement artists, who are also a vanishing breed. Unfortunately, life is becoming so heavily policed in our Welfare State that all these picturesque people are vanishing, but, when I saw them there when I was a young man, I always thought how pleased Irving would be that these humblest members of his profession were gathering, so to speak, under his cloak for protection.”  

I love Davies’ phrase “pavement artist” and the twinkle in his eye that appears in all these renderings of his audaciously bearded countenance!  #CANLit


Browse by Month:

Browse by Category:

Browse by Tag:

#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Robertson Davies Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse Undercover Books upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI