Finding out who you were

Paul Delany

  • Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies
    Sinclair-Stevenson, 357 pp, £14.95, October 1991, ISBN 1 85619 078 1

‘In later life I have been sometimes praised, sometimes mocked, for my way of pointing out the mythical elements that seem to me to underlie our apparently ordinary lives.’ Dunstan Ramsay, the hero of Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business, says this; but one can assume that Davies is also talking about the reception of his own novels. To reduce character and incident to their ‘mythical elements’ can be criticised as an evasion of the novelist’s proper task, which is to document the social arrangements of a specific time and place.

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