For Your Eye Alone: Letters, 1976-1995
Robertson Davies brought a great sense of style to everything he wrote. Whether it was a letter to his daughter ("Love from us both, Daddy") or a formal letter to the editor disembowelling a hostile reviewer that concludes humbly ("I am content to remain, Yours, writhing in deserved ignominy..."), he wrote with care, with zest, and in a clearly distinctive voice.
Since these letters written by Davies have been selected from the years when he was at the height of his fame, the recipients range widely, from Sir John Gielgud to Margaret Atwood, and from Greg Gatenby ("You are a merciless man and God will punish you in the next world") to his publishers abroad. Naturally, like all the best letters, they contain fascinating gossip: ..."and Salvador Dali, at the next table, raised his eyebrows and popped his eyes to such a degree that I feared they might leave their moorings and bounce about the floor."
The title of the book comes from a confidential letter to Jack McClelland and hints at the secrets to be learned from these letters. This "over the shoulder" look at his private correspondence shows us Davies in a variety of roles: as an old friend consoling Horace Davenport on the loss of his son; as a university administrator bewailing the miseries of fundraising; as a keen theatre-goer writing a letter of congratulations to an actor after a fine performance; as a professional writer advocating fair rates for authors to a cabinet minister; as a husband constructing a handwritten circular card to convey loving birthday greetings to his wife; as a bearer of health-giving good cheer to an ailing friend; and as a novelist struggling with his new books, and admitting to his doubts aboutthem.
The letters are frequently testy, tart, and not always "politically correct." Among those who felt his sting are Judith Skelton Grant, his biographer, and Douglas Gibson, his publisher, but other, more deserving, targets are suitably chastised. And whether they are funny, moving, or thought-provoking, these private letters provide a new look at the private Davies, revealed in his own vigorous words.
90 pages matching Robertson Davies in this book
Results 1-3 of 90
What people are saying - Write a review
For your eye aloneUser Review - Book Verdict
One of the best Canadian novelists of the 20th century, Davies (1913-95) is known for his "Deptford" and "Salterton" trilogies, among other works. This collection of letters, dating from 1976 to 1995, is intended as the first published volume of the author's correspondence. Editor Grant is the author of the massive 1994 biography Robertson Davies: Man of Myth, and some of the letters are addressed to her. Although a number are written to well-known individuals, such as actor John Gielgud and novelist John Irving, most are addressed to friends, colleagues, editors, and family members and reflect Davies's humor, prejudices, strong opinions, and great warmth and feeling. The topics are varied, but many of the letters are concerned with the arts, Canadian literature, the place of Canada as seen by the rest of the world, and the processes by which Davies produced some of his greatest novels. The explanatory notes are informative, while the facsimiles of some of the author's letters give an added pictorial value to the collection. Strongly recommended to all devotees of the writer; for larger public and academic library collections.DMorris Hounion, New York City Technical Coll. Lib., Brooklyn ...
Review: For Your Eye AloneUser Review - Erik - Goodreads
To be clear, I consider Robertson Davies to be one of my favorite authors. He writing is insightful, economical, and worth spending time with. Two of his novels - Fifth Business and What's Bred in the ... Read full review
April 1979January 1982
sect1on in February 1982July 1984
section 1v August 1 984December 1986
6 other sections not shown