Read The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies Online

the-rebel-angels

Defrocked monks, mad professors, and wealthy eccentrics - a remarkable cast peoples Robertson Davies' brilliant spectacle of theft, perjury, murder, scholarship, and love at a modern university. Only Mr. Davies, author of Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders, could have woven together their destinies with such wit, humour-and wisdom....

Title : The Rebel Angels
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140062717
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 326 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Rebel Angels Reviews

  • Panagiotis
    2019-04-07 23:31

    Τι κάνει ένα βιβλίο να υπερέχει ανάμεσα στα καλά, κακά, άνοστα, υποσχόμενα και ό,τι άλλο απαρτίζει τον ετερόκλητο πλήθος βιβλίων στο μυαλό ενός αναγνώστη; Γιατί δεν μπορούμε να διαβάζουμε πιο συχνά τόσο καλά βιβλία; Τελός πάντων, γιατί δεν διάβασα πιο νωρίς στην αναγνωστική μου καριέρα τούτο τον θησαυρό;Αυτά και άλλα πολλά ερωτήματα γεννήθηκαν στο μυαλό μου, όταν διάβαζα τον πρώτο τόμο της Τριλογίας του Κόρνις.Δεν ήταν η πρώτη μου φορά με τον Ντέιβις. Θα έπρεπε να είμαι προετοιμασμένος για αυτή την σαρωτική πορεία του στις εγκεφαλικές μου συνάψεις, καθώς η εμπειρία μου με την τριλογία του Ντέπτφορντ είχε φανερώσει έναν εξαιρετικό συγγραφέα. Μια σχεδόν ολιστική σχεδόν αντιμετώπιση της θεματολογίας του, που φανέρωνε μια σπάνια σοφία, έναν αναγνώστη και γραφιά έτσι όπως σπάνια συναντάμε σήμερα. Σε τούτο εδώ, όμως, φαίνεται πως βρίσκεται κυριολεκτικά στο στοιχείο του, γράφοντας για τον ακαδημαϊκό χώρο. Το αποτέλεσμα είναι ένας λογοτεχνικός θρίαμβος - αυτό που έχω στο μυαλό μου ως ιδανική λογοτεχνία: εξαιρετικά σκιαγραφημένοι χαρακτήρες, πάμπολες σκηνές που εξελίσσονται μόνο μέσα από απολαυστικούς διαλόγους, μυστήριο, αγωνία, κουτσομπολιό - είναι ένα λουκούμι το αποτέλεσμα! Η ανάγνωση αποτέλεσε μια ηδονοβλεπτική κατάσταση: παρακολουθούσα την κουστωδία που ζωντάνεψε ο Ντέιβις να μιλάει, να εκφράζεται και να βιώνει με την απόλυτη λογοτεχνικότητα που προσφέρει το ταλέντο του.Τον Ντέιβις τον ανακάλυψα στην προσπάθειά μου να αναπληρώσω το κενό που δημιουργήθηκε μέσα μου όταν τέλειωσα τον Μάγο του Φάουλς. Και κατέληξα με έναν ακόμα αγαπημένο συγγραφέα - αυτή η τόσο σπάνια απολαβή, που με το πέρασμα του καιρού μετουσιώνεται στην αναζήτηση ενός ιερού, σχεδόν χιμαιρικού σκοπού.

  • Terry
    2019-04-07 02:20

    4 - 4.5 starsSome books are comfort reads. They are old friends whose familiarity provides us with a sense of stability and well-being, and they fit like a glove to the intellectual, emotional, and purely personal elements of our psyche. Sometimes this is because we came to them in formative years when their mode and message could be deeply impressed on us, sometimes it is because they simply express aspects of our nature that we ourselves may not be fully aware of, but to which they harmonize completely. The books of Robertson Davies are these kinds of books for me. I did come at them at a young age, but they also showed to me a world, and way of looking at the world, that I found utterly appealing and deeply satisfying.Like all of his books _The Rebel Angels_ is a book about art, about the intellect, and about secrets (both personal and professional). It is populated by the kind of characters that Davies knew so well and whose portraits he painted unerringly (if on occasion a little too neatly): they are intellectual elites, connoisseurs of art and artistry, but they are also unique, often bizarre, individuals whose quirks and manias may be the result of heredity, upbringing, or a judicious combination of both. Having said this I would have to admit that perhaps the only reservation I have is in the range of these characters. They are certainly unique, quirky and individual, but they do seem to generally be cut from the same cloth. Davies himself was a true old school Upper Canadian (though indeed one with a decidedly forward-looking bent) conversant with the rituals and mode of the intellectual and social elites and this is very much the place where his characters live. Trying to go outside of this range is something he doesn’t seem to have been very interested in, and this was probably for the best. My only qualm with any of his characters is actually with Maria in this trilogy. I’m not sure how successful I think he was in embodying a feminine voice in her and often wonder what women who have read the series think of her? I don’t exactly find her unbelievable, but I sometimes wonder if some of the things she says and does wouldn’t sit more comfortably with one of Davies other, male, characters. For me perhaps the most alluring feature of this book is the fact that it centres on the life of a University; indeed, of the university which I not only attended but where I now work and whose buildings, halls, and (most importantly) odd individuals are only thinly disguised. It stands to reason, then, that this book holds a unique place in my heart. In some ways this book is an academic satire, showing us the strange rituals, obsessions, and quirks that are unique to the world of academe. We are primarily concerned with the perhaps parochial world of a small college within a larger University, the College of St. John and the Holy Ghost (or more colloquially “Spook”) and are immediately thrust into the midst of the action as the whispered refrain “Parlabane is back!” echoes throughout the halls. Everyone loves some good gossip and academics are no less a party to this than anyone else. It appears as though John Parlabane, one of the college’s former stars in the intellectual firmament (now disgraced much to all of his contemporaries’ delight), has returned to the alma mater as a defrocked monk in the hopes of clawing his way back up, and perhaps stirring the pot of scandal and intrigue. In the midst of this is Maria Magdalena Theotoky, a promising graduate student who has the misfortune not only of being the research assistant of one of Parlabane’s old ‘friends’, but of being in love with him. Said scholar, Clemence Hollier (an ‘ornament to the university’), is pursuing his research interests with single-minded assurance that is broken by only two things: his role as co-executor to the vast estate of the recently deceased millionaire and art collector Francis Cornish, and his nagging remembrance of an indiscretion the year before with his beautiful and intelligent RA on his decrepit office couch. Finally we have Professor the Reverend Simon Darcourt, scholar in New Testament Greek, lover of homely comforts, and also both an executor of Cornish’s will and newly smitten teacher of the lovely Miss Theotoky. From here Davies takes us into the tangled world of academe, which is more cutthroat than outsiders might believe. The narrative is first person, split between segments narrated by Maria and Darcourt respectively, each of whom view the culmination of events that grow around the death of Cornish and arrival of Parlabane from parallel tracks. There is intellectual intrigue and thievery, bizarre research interests, passive aggressive bullying, and a most interesting view into the household of a gypsy family of means who straddle the old world and the new, the criminal and the respectable. As is to be expected of Davies his Jungian interests come out in a few ways. First, and most importantly, each of the characters wrestles with what Parlabane calls their “root and crown”: the tension that exists between the chthonic forces of our heredity & deeply buried psychological foundations and the outward face we present to the world bound up in our more conscious needs & desires. In addition the tarot and other mystical and mythological aspects of art and scholarship flow in and out of the characters’ lives proving themselves to be more real and applicable than they would ever have previously given them credit for. Sometimes this is manifested in a benign & revelatory way, sometimes through fear and premonition, but always enlightening them about themselves and the world. All in all this is a great start to a great trilogy. Highly recommended.Also posted at Shelf Inflicted

  • Nickolas the Kid
    2019-03-29 21:31

    "Οι Έκπτωτοι άγγελοι είναι οι πραγματικοί άγγελοι... Αυτοί που παρόλο που εδιώχθησαν από τον Παράδεισο δεν βαριοθύμησαν ούτε μηχανεύτηκαν τρόπους εκδίκησης και δεν ήταν εγωιστές σαν τον Εωσφόρο. Αυτοί που έμειναν στην γη με τους ανθρώπους, τους βοήθησαν τους δασκάλεψαν, τους αγάπησαν...."Ο εκκεντρικός μαικήνας Φράνσις Κόρνις πεθαίνει, και σαν διαχειριστές της περιουσίας του (των ανεκτίμητων αντικειμένων συλλογής και αντικών) αφήνει 3 καθηγητές ενός κολεγίου του Καναδά και τον ανιψιό του Άρθουρ Κόρνις. Οι 3 καθηγητές θα προσπαθήσουν να διαχωρίσουν και να εκτιμήσουν την πολύτιμη συλλογή ενώ ταυτόχρονα θα τεθούν αντιμέτωποι με τα προσωπικά τους πάθη και τις φιλοδοξίες... Ιδιαίτερη αναστάτωση θα φέρει στο Κολέγιο του Αγίου Ιωάννη η εμφάνιση ενός παλιού εκκεντρικού ομοφυλόφιλου καθηγητή και νυν ψευτοκαλόγερου, του Τζων Παρλαμπέιν και η αποκάλυψη πως μέσα στην συλλογή του Κόρνις υπάρχει ένα σπάνιο χειρόγραφο του Ραμπελαί (συγγραφέας του αιρετικού βιβλίου "Γαργαντούας και Πανταγκριέλ)...Το βιβλίο αυτό περιέχει τα πάντα! Αναφορές σε μεσαιωνικούς πολιτισμούς, μάγους, αλχημιστές, γλωσσολόγους, πολιτιστικά στοιχεία, μουσική, θρησκεία, βιβλικές αναφορές, μυστήριο... Μέσα από τα αντικείμενα της συλλογής του Κόρνις αλλά και τις συναντήσεις των Πανεπιστημιακών, υπάρχει ένας καταιγισμός πληροφοριών πάνω σε ιστορία, μουσική και τέχνη!!Η αφήγηση γίνεται σε πρώτο πρόσωπο εναλλάξ ανά κεφάλαιο. Ένα κεφάλαιο περιγράφει η Μαρία Μαγδαληνή Θεοτόκη, η φοιτήτρια που κάνει ένα διδακτορικό σχετικά με τον Ραμπελαί και είναι το σκοτεινό αντικείμενο του πόθου όλων των αντρών και ένα κεφάλαιο ο πάτερ-Ντατκούρ ένας από τους 3 διαχειριστές της κληρονομιάς και κληρικός του Κολεγίου... Η γραφή του Ρόμπερτσον είναι απλή χωρίς υπερβολές και παρόλο τον καταιγισμό πληροφοριών δεν κουράζει και κάνει τον αναγνώστη να αδημονεί για την επόμενη σελίδα...Προσωπικά βρήκα αρκετές ομοιότητες με το La-Bas τους Υισμάν και ειλικρινά ήταν από τα βιβλία που δεν ήθελα να τελειώσει... Απολαυστικότατο, περιεκτικό και πάνω από όλα επιβλητικό ανάγνωσμα...5/5 αστεράκια από μένα και κάτι ακόμα....

  • Oscar
    2019-04-22 23:06

    ¡Qué bueno es Robertson Davies! Lo descubrí por medio de la Trilogía de Deptford, mención especial para el primer libro perteneciente a la misma, 'El quinto en discordia', y he de decir que es un escritor absolutamente delicioso. Mientras leía 'Ángeles rebeldes', no dejaba de pensar en llamar a todos mis conocidos para leerles algún fragmento memorable, por su humor y por su inteligencia. Y es que este libro, y la obra de Davies en general, se caracteriza por la variedad de temas que trata, siempre desde un punto de vista erudito pero ni pesado ni farragoso de leer.Si tuviese que escoger dos palabras para definir 'Ángeles rebeldes', serían humor y erudición. La novela está impregnada de humor, es inevitable reírse con algunas escenas. Me recordó la obra de David Lodge, tanto por las situaciones humorísticas como por donde transcurren, que es el ambiente universitario y todo lo que conlleva. En cuanto a la erudición, Davies está versado en muchas materias, desde la alquimia, a la vida académica, pasando por las tradiciones gitanas y el medievalismo. Pero todo está tan bien insertado en la trama, que lees el libro de manera compulsiva.'Ángeles rebeldes' es también el primer libro de la llamada Trilogía de Cornish, formada también por 'Lo que arraiga en el hueso' y 'La lira de Orfeo', aunque pueden ser leídas de manera independiente. 'Ángeles rebeldes' comienza con el regreso a la Universidad de San Juan y el Espíritu Santo, llamada por algunos La Entelequía, de Parlabane, un ser malvado para muchos. La vida en la Universidad se ve alterada tanto por este retorno como por el legado que recibe del difunto Francis Cornish, coleccionista y mecenas de artistas, a cuyo cargo y revisión quedan los profesores Dancourt, Hollier y McVarish. Todo se complica con el descubrimiento de un manuscrito inédito de Rabelais... La historia esta narrada desde dos puntos de vista, el del padre Dancourt y el de la estudiante Maria, que se verá atrapada enmedio de estos ángeles rebeldes.No puedo decir nada más, únicamente... pasen y disfruten.

  • Francisco H. González
    2019-04-17 00:31

    Rabelais, Paracelso, luthiers, manuscritos perdidos, académicos eruditos, gitanos, magia, encantamientos, rollos profesor-alumno, sumo intelectual, alquimia, asesinato, suicidio, mentalidad salvaje, fósil cultural, bromas, adivinanzas, chanzas, deyección como acto creativo, escatología, diálogos crepitantes, humor, ironía, novela impublicable, herencia, millonario, amor, amistad, ángeles rebeldes, casamiento... Con estos elementos y otros muchos más, el coloso canadiense Robertson Davies (1913-1995) aplicando todo su ingenio, su humor y su erudición, alumbra una novela que toca muchos palos, que me ha parecido deslumbrante y fascinante (algo o mucho tiene que ver con esto, la gran traducción de Concha Cardeñoso) y que me ha deparado varios orgasmos mentales, salvo su final, que no lo acabo de ver y ante el que me muestro escéptico. Dijo en su día Nuria Barrios, refiriéndose a Robertson, Háganse un regalo: no demoren el placer de leerle. Yo lo había demorado más de la cuenta y ahora apagaré mi sed de Davies yendo en busca del tiempo perdido, a golpe de trilogía. De momento, prosiguiendo con ésta de Cornish y guardando para el recuerdo personajes memorables como Darcourt, Parlabane y Theotoki.

  • Stephen P
    2019-04-07 02:07

    I love reading about the academic life. I have never been in academics yet I've also not been a researcher and I could read endlessly on a person dedicating their life to the study of a specific subject within the walls of a library, their live's enfolded in cluttered stacks of paper and tilted piles of books. If I'm going to get truly confessional here I admit to a desire to read about someone reading even without me knowing what it is they read. Seeing the act of reading for me is enjoyment.Wanting a break I thought a fun book on academia would be this first of the Cornish Trilogy by Mr. Davies. Living in the U.S. I have come to be satisfied with getting what I pay for but not surprised if I receive less. It amazes me what when younger I went into battle about now I let pass. What I am not accustomed to is being handed more. What do I do? Should I send additional money to the author and publisher? Read fewer pages?The novel is a wonderful romp through academic college life written by an author who spent a good part of his life in academia. He knows the twists and turns, the absurdities and hypocrisies, the characters, and those truly dedicated to their life of study. The freebies-which I may still receive a bill for in the mail-is an honest accounting of love, obsession, the various and raucous folds of ambition, qualities of friendship, the nature of scholarly pursuit, and the big one: the philosophy of identity. While frolicking along in my break in academia the author showed better than any philosophical treatise the answer to, what is our journey, what is it we seek? It is woven into the story. He is an excellent thinker and an excellent writer. His fascinating characters reveal without any pomp and circumstance they will either set out and to differing degrees discover who they are even if it doesn't coincide with their life circumstances or desires, and have the guts and audacity to live that life, or will conjure up images of themselves resulting in the fevered maladies when sacrificing authenticity. Much needs to be spent on obtaining bevelled, warped mirrors to locate the reflection of themselves most needed to gain the glistened trophies handed out with indifference by the administrators of society in the great halls and decked rooms marked life.The great magic of this book is that it is written in a high style of prose providing the right amount of distance of the authorial camera for us to view through while Mr. Davies himself stands by the open door of the novel, dressed proper in a suit and tie, impeccable manners, a wise noble smile, placing a hand beneath our arm while gently leading us into the story. He makes us comfortable and sets us at ease. He acts as if he hasn't done anything when by doing so, later we understand what magic has been performed.I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is urbane, cosmopolitan, insightful, sad, funny, witty, knowledgeable, a pleasure to read Why not 5 stars? My original drop of a star was the hope I could slide by and not be charged for the multiple freebies. That not working I was set out to write a humble but brilliant section on how the characters were not well rounded enough. Then, just before posting I realized that was what the book, duh, was about. This part quickly deleted before public embarrassment was tagged onto the bill, the real reason arose. If just for the enjoyment of reading, and by itself, this is a 5 star book. However, I finished it then started Virginia Woolf's, The Waves, which for me so far may very well be the most important book I have read. So, unfair as it may be, to give any book right now the same rating I will be giving The Waves seems impossible. Let's say then that Rebel Angels is a strong 4 and if read at another time would have been a 5.

  • Jan Rice
    2019-04-11 02:11

    What makes a book--a novel--so good that it is nourishing? That's how Robertson Davies strikes me.This one is the first book of The Cornish Trilogy, which I read before, about 25 years ago. I didn't remember much of this one, just a vague feeling of familiarity like a dream you think you've dreamed before.The story is told by two characters, a beautiful, exotic and brilliant twenty-something graduate student and a forty-five-year-"old" Anglican priest turned professor. All the chapters told by the young woman, Maria (who has scholarly aspirations), are numbered episodes of "Second Paradise II," in a reference to Paracelsus, who, we read, said, The striving for wisdom is the second paradise of the world. The chapters narrated by the priest, Darcourt, are all numbered versions of "The New Aubrey II," an arcane reference to Aubrey's Brief Lives: The Elizabethans (a reportedly irreverent collection) since Darcourt sees himself as engaged in such an endeavor regarding his academic colleagues--although, as he says, he ends up talking more about himself.Speaking of irreverent, the setting is a "modern" Canadian college of the late '70s or early '80s called St. John and the Holy Spirit, or Spook, its nickname. Further irreverence ensues. That alone isn't the nourishing aspect, although it helps. Objets d'art are involved. There's reference to using esoteric knowledge from the past to inform the present. The term "gnostic" rears its head, but in a good way (not as heresy or in the sense of conservative disapproval of modernity), the feminine principle, for example. Or in its original sense of knowledge--knowledge that has been disallowed, maybe, but knowledge just the same. We get to hear the people talk about themselves and their interactions with other people. We hear about their feelings, thoughts, and reactions. The people seem real, so we get to share their feelings, learn with them, and be amazed at how erudite they are or, in some of their cases, how capable of fooling themselves. What makes the book so good is that their words and behavior come across real. My gut clenches when I hear something phony but no worries here as Robertson Davies is maximally digestible. There's a plot, too, and things do happen, but the plot serves the characters, if that's a fair observation. No jerking the people around for the sake of some artificial outcome!I'm not sure whether saying what the title means would spoil the fun or not. (view spoiler)["Rebel angels" refers to Prometheus figures. Funny, but I was just reading Stephen Greenblatt's The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, and he also refers to such figures, contrasting them with orthodoxy. (hide spoiler)]I sure didn't get any of this 25 years ago!P.S. These Robertson Davies books I've been reading have beautiful audio editions remastered from the original tapes. Neither author nor narrator are still living but have left us their gifts. But there are no e-editions, hence my book is bristling with post-it markers.

  • Josh
    2019-04-17 00:13

    Robertson Davies is probably the greatest writer Canada has ever produced. Not that Canadian literature is all that great, but even overshadowing the likes of Atwood and Munro is still a pretty remarkable achievement. He writes about things that should be really boring in a way that's somehow really interesting. Like the drama of Renaissance professors and graduate students. Does that get your heart racing? No? Well what if I told you it's all interspersed with Gypsy mysticism and Rabelaisian allusion? It's gripping stuff, I assure you.The book is tightly plotted and moves fast and is full of lovably quirky characters. They're not exactly believable characters, and the ending leaves something to be desired, but in the face of the sheer pleasure I've got out of reading this book I'm willing to overlook that. Davies uses some sort of literary hocus-pocus to fill his books with some sort of joyous energy. It's densely written without being tedious; it's intellectual while never taking itself too seriously; it's just great.

  • Carl R.
    2019-03-23 01:27

    It’s humbling--I suppose I need it--to be introduced to wonderful writers I ought to have known about years--nay, decades--ago. So I’ve been chastened once again by following a tip, again from that Canadian son-in-law I’ve mentioned before, that I might like a certain author of Canadian renown named Robertson Davies. Why I haven’t run across this prolific storyteller of great intellect and wit before must be a matter of my earwax or some kind of American literary snobbery. The man is a first rate writer, that rare combination of aesthetic and entertainer. I plucked The Rebel Angels off the library shelf at random, and (lucky me) it turns out to be the first in one of the Monty-Wooly-lookalike author’s several trilogies. I’ll certainly go on to the other two of the threesome in The Cornish Trilogy, What’s Bred in the Bone, and The Lyre of Orpheus. So what’s so good about him? First of all, he’s produced a novel set in academia that is neither pretentious nor supercilious. I tend to shy away from these things because they often become self parodies. The writer so wallows in his characters’ academic affections that said affectations reveal themselves as belonging as much to the author as to his creations. Not so Davies.Among the main characters are several learned and established academicians, and their research provides important grist for the action mill. Discussions of the likes of Rabelais and Paracelsus play important parts in relationships, and numerous conversations include generous helpings of Latin. Indeed, a bit of research (I’m not willing to spend the time.) would undoubtedly yield amusing insights into both character and action.However, amid all this scholarly give-and-take (which Davies manages to make engaging even when the reader is not quite sure what people are talking about) there appears an enormous amount of shit. Literally. Davies uses excrement as an emblematic source of creativity and spirit as well as of corruption. It’s also a source of delicious (so to speak) satire. One professor (nickname, “turd skinner”) receives a high prizes for research on “faeces,” research which no one understands, which has yielded no discernible results nor is expected to. Prized violins are cured in beds of horse manure. All this earthiness is completely appropriate to the Rabelaisian dimension of the work. but it’s perhaps unprecedented in a university-set novel. I’m reminded of a couple of images from probably my favorite poet. W.B. Yeats is noted more for his ethereal imagery than for for his earthiness, but that’s the fault of his squeamish readers, not his. Try these lines from (I believe) “Crazy Jane Talks to the Bishop:”Love has pitched his mansion In the place of excrement. Nothing can be whole or sole That has not been rent.Or this entire poem called “A Stick of Incense:” From whence did all this fury come? From empty tomb or virgin womb? St. Joseph thought the world would melt, But liked the way his finger smelt. Just so are universities as replete with the down and dirty as all other institutions of human enterprise. Yes, and as full of superstition as well. The Rebel Angels has magic at the center of it. Gypsies, Tarot cards, spells, curses and the power of menstrual blood move the action every bit as much as scholarship and intellect. The grotesque image on the cover art is from the Tarot and is entirely appropriate to the feel of this novel, which pays homage to the entirety of the human comedy, it’s pain and savagery, as well as to its superficial wit. “Honor not only your crown but your root.” If you care to know what that little quote means, read The Rebel Angels. And, for no particular reason, I leave you with Rabelais’s will: I owe much, have nothing, the rest goes to charity.

  • Ensiform
    2019-04-20 01:14

    The first part of the Cornish Trilogy. Alternating between two narrators – Maria, a half gypsy graduate student in love with her mentor and a Simon, a priest who teaches at the University and falls for her – the book tells a complex story of love, lust, art, pride, scholarship, academic rivalry and criminal actions. John Parlabane, a defrocked gay monk and sort of evil genius, stirs up the brew with his sharp eyes and tongue, yet somehow it tuns out right for the characters whom the reader sympathizes with. At times I felt there may have been a bit too much academic talk, but the book is after all set at a University, and Davies is very, very good at it. As he is with dialogue, depth of characterization and humor. A fascinating tale, told in expert fashion, in short.

  • Oliver Twist & Shout
    2019-03-27 22:33

    Muy decepcionante. Desde que Davies ganó el premio Llibreter en 2006 que pensaba en hincarle el diente a alguna de sus novelas y esperaba... algo. Davies esboza un libro acerca de adultos cultos que se portan como personajes de Deads poets society: son bastante inmaduros, el sexo les resulta azaroso, son torpes y tímidos en el amor, curiosamente ninguno tiene relaciones sentimentales con nadie, pillan rabietas... parece mentira que sean creaciones ideadas por un señor de casi 70 años. Parecen mentira. La gracia de la buena ficción es que sin que deje de ser una mentira, nos parezca lo contrario, que aluda a cierta verdad. Para mí Davies no lo logra. Sus medios para destrozar el casco de su propia nave son unos diálogos acartonados y literarios, una visión del mundo anacrónica y una capacidad imaginativa tan limitada que la mitad de la novela son cenas y la otra funerales. No son esos engaños para un buen artífice.El centro de la novela es un personaje femenino que a pesar de estar escribiendo un doctorado vive colgada de las faldas de su madre, no hay capítulo que no la nombre, se sonroja con facilidad, puede acabar llorando si le cantan canciones burlonas y su conflicto con sus raíces gitanas está exagerado hasta el absurdo. Eso sí, puede mantener conversaciones pedantes como sus compañeros y como hipoteticamente tiene un físico muy vistoso entonces se convierte en el centro de las vidas de unos pobres señores muy tristes y aburridos. Ésa me parece una forma muy pobre de caracterizar un personaje dramáticamente tan esencial.Esperaba algo y lo que he encontrado es igual a nada. A lo sumo, una buena base culta que sirve de decorado de cartón para una farsa amateur. Pero eso es algo que también se puede hallar en un diccionario escolar y no por eso se convierte en una obra literaria. Si alguien quiere leer una novela con elementos similares aunque manejados por una mente creativa y sensible recomiendo que lea Pobres criaturas!, de Alasdair Gray, escritor mil veces más dotado que ese pobre diablo reaccionario llamado Davies.

  • Matt
    2019-04-19 21:23

    What TEDIUM this book was. Interesting premise and characters, but one of the most unsatisfying, contrived and rediculous stories I can remember setting eyes on. Ostensibly about several academics in a large univ., the book was only saved by the presence of a colorful gypsy family, who were the only authentic and vaguely stirring elements in an otherwise drab, Canadian yawn of a novel. A few good passages and interesting references, but overall it needed to be edited down to a third its size. Miraculously, the last 60 pages or so held the best and most satisfying read, as did the Christmas dinner scene where the gypsy Mamusia reads the tarot for several of the characters.Consider giving it a pass!

  • Wanda
    2019-04-12 01:23

    How do you solve a problem like Maria?She is so perfect--a beautiful brainiac. How much I would have given as a student to have her knowledge of languages. However, I remember spending hours trying to conjugate Ancient Greek verbs and remember proper endings of nouns--all these many years later, the only sentence I remember? "The boat is in Byzantium." Not really too useful, for translations or conversations.Davies does try to give Maria some faults--she has a Gypsy family to contend with and has an adolescent crush on her thesis adviser, Hollier. And trust me, the whole crush on an instructor happens more frequently that one would expect (I had one friend who made a complete idiot of herself over her thesis adviser). But somehow Maria manages to spin these problems into gold by the end of the book.I did enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at academic life--the rivalries, the jealousies, the friendships. Academics are people after all and have all the same passions. Having been employed by a university for 30 years, I have seen many of these dramas play out.My only (small) complaint was that I did not find Maria and Arthur's relationship and marriage very realistic. It seemed much more like a business transaction--well, if I can't have that man, this one is offering marriage, so I'll accept him. There was a relationship in which I would have liked to see more passion!

  • Jackie
    2019-04-12 22:09

    I was so disappointed in this novel. For one thing, it struck me as incredibly dated: its attitudes towards women for one thing, and the constant assessment of any progressive sentiment as "fashionable" (and therefore, one assumes, temporary). Simon Darcourt was a good narrator, but I couldn't stand Maria and I found myself wondering how they gypsy passages would read to an actual gypsy.But whatever. The mythological/supernatural/religious moments were interesting. I liked the idea of a pure evil character in Parlabane, although I thought the end of his story was a massive copout.Overall: meh.

  • Gill
    2019-04-15 03:32

    Good reading for a nerd like me who loves good sentences and endearingly wacky characters.

  • robert
    2019-04-19 02:31

    After raves from Harold Bloom, Salon, and my favorite bookseller this book became my lackluster traveling companion for a journey across the Atlantic. None of the intellectual protagonists sound all that smart, their ideas are far from stimulating, and even the analysis of excrement is somehow boring. Like Possession, this is a writer´s wet dream (nothing wrong with that!). But though The Rebel Angels is much better than Byatt´s book, Davies´ liberated notions at times seem strangely dated and offensive, as when a fat pastor analyzes the naked body of a colleague: "Professor Agnes Marley, heavier in the hams than her tweeds admitted, and with a decidedly poor bosom" (107). Davies does make this world come alive, you do feel like you are living there with him, the cover on my older edition is great, the idea of woman as Sophia (sexual muse without sexual consummation) makes sense. I love the flattering notion of professors as modern day rebel angels from Biblical apocrypha (257). This is not a bad book. I do not recommend it, but if you are an avid bibliophile, you will probably like it.

  • Tracy
    2019-04-05 04:07

    This is such an wonderfully inventive novel. I read it many years ago, perhaps when I was the age of Maria Theotoky, I may have been a little older. Reading this novel made me feel the way I did when I was young and in university, the way I felt when I met my first husband. The passionate arguments about books and music (granted I was a lot more into pop culture than this bunch of odd characters, and neither as brilliant nor as beautiful as Maria). Anyhow this novel captures the flavour of the Ivory Tower in a way that is captivating. It is often quite funny and it was as if I had attended a lecture on medieval literature and philosophy given by a very gifted professor. While some of the politics in this novel are a bit quaint and behind the times it remains tremendous fun.

  • Merilee
    2019-04-14 22:32

    This book really petered out for me. I loved What's Bred in the Bone, another one of the Cornish trilogy, but this I just grew impatient with. Perhaps I read it over too long a time, although that might also be because it never really engaged me...

  • Kate
    2019-04-08 23:23

    Это моя вторая и последняя попытка, больше я этого автора читать не буду. Мне было более-менее интересно в процессе и очень скучно в конце.

  • Krista
    2019-04-22 20:07

    Subtle wits like to refresh themselves with a whiff of mild indecency.Call mine, then, a subtle wit for I enjoyed this book full of indecencies. I first read The Rebel Angels probably 25 years ago and what impressed me most about it was how Robertson Davies can describe situations totally outside my frame of reference (here, the inner workings of a graduate school and the lofty topics of professorial research) without making me feel ignorant or undereducated -- as Davies' characters speak knowledgably (yet without condescension), I could grasp most concepts through context, and the ideas that most interested me led to further study. I remember closing this book and then reading further on Paracelsus and alchemy, the cabbala, and after many nagging years, I finally delved into Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel just last summer. What a pleasure it is to reread this book and actually understand the references.The Rebel Angels is a book of dichotomies: it is told in the alternating voices of Maria Theotoky (the half-Gypsy research assistant that everyone falls in love with) and Simon Darcourt (an Anglican priest and New Testament scholar); it opposes science with mysticism; research with intuition; knowledge with wisdom; and balances the root and the crown. The fallen monk who has found his one true God is the embodiment of evil and the two finest teachers serve as the rebel angels (Azazel and Samahazai) of the title. There is intrigue and academic politics, purloined manuscripts, a love philtre, and the Bebby Jesus. There is Filth Therapy, forty feet of Literary Gut, a controversial researcher who might be either a Turd-Skinner or a Paracelsian Magus, and a male nurse (Well, I'm sure as hell not a FEMALE nurse). It is understood that many of the professors in The Rebel Angels are barely-veiled caricatures of people that Davies knew and the setting is undoubtedly the University of Toronto where he himself taught (Ploughwright College is an obvious substitute for Massey Hall, of which Davies was the first Master). After reading Robertson Davies A Portrait In Mosaic, his obsession with bowels and faeces becomes clearer, as do his professional jealousies -- this was a personal project for Davies and debts were definitely collected.Civilization rests on two things...the discovery that fermentation produces alcohol, and the voluntary ability to inhibit defecation. And I put it to you, where would this splendidly civilized occasion be without both?It was a decidedly different experience rereading The Rebel Angels, what with the scraps of knowledge I have picked up over the intervening years, but here is my one complaint: how could those cranky, old (yet venerated) professors that I first met 25 years ago be younger than I am now? How on Earth did THAT happen? What really shapes and conditions and makes us is somebody only a few of us ever have the courage to face: and that is the child you once were, long before formal education ever got its claws into you — that impatient, all-demanding child who wants love and power and can't get enough of either and who goes on raging and weeping in your spirit till at last your eyes are closed and all the fools say, "Doesn't he look peaceful?" It is those pent-up, craving children who make all the wars and all the horrors and all the art and all the beauty and discovery in life, because they are trying to achieve what lay beyond their grasp before they were five years old.

  • Kate Millin
    2019-04-18 04:30

    I am reading this in a different version - one that has the Cornish trilogy in one volume, but want to record each book as a separate read, so this is not the same as the copy I am reading.The Rebel Angels revolves around the execution of a difficult will. In this case, the estate is of one Francis Cornish, a fantastically rich patron and collector of Canadian art and a noted antiquarian bibliophile. A lost Rabelais manuscript is rumoured to be among his possessions, and his executors include the deliciously revolting Renaissance scholar Urquhart McVarish; Professor Clement Hollier, a classically middle-aged inhabitant of the ivory tower; and the Reverend Simon Darcourt, Davies's obligatory humanist clergyman. A heroine is provided in the form of Maria Theotoky, a beautiful Ph.D. student of Professor Hollier's. A rich, funny, and slightly ribald campus novel results, one that revels in the fustian of the now-vanished pre-postmodern university.I found this book an interesting read - and really liked the way the inter relationships of the main characters was described. Parlablane is a key character in the novel who is not involved in the will, the interactions each of the key characters have with him, though, reveals a lot about him. I found the move between the two voices that tell the story added to the experience, although for some reason assumed the first voice was male at first - which makes some of the early story very different if read with a male storyteller in mind rather than a female one! I leave you to read the book to see what I mean.

  • Lara
    2019-04-08 00:28

    Robertson Davies books always just...completely suck me in. I don't even care what the hell he writes about (wrote about? talking about books by dead authors always confuses me), I always have a very difficult time putting his books down once I've picked them up. This one involves a 23-year-old half-Gypsy research assistant and several professors at the College of St. John and Holy Ghost (Spook for short), the complicated will of an art patron and donor, a deadbeat defrocked monk who has arrived back in town to mooch off his former classmates and to write a book, and a previously unknown Rabelais manuscript, as well as some letters from Rabelais to Paracelsus, that have gone missing from the art patron's collection. As usual, it's funny, intelligent, somewhat ridiculous...I'm a little sad that nobody in my life (that I know of) has ever read anything of his, because I'd be very interested to see if he effects other people I know in this way, or if it's just me. Maybe someday?In the meantime, I'll just be over here wallowing around in my pile of Davies books, giggling with delight. Don't mind me!

  • julieta
    2019-03-22 20:05

    Quiero empezar diciendo que amo a Robertson Davies. A excepción de un libro suyo que realmente no me gustó, todo lo demás siempre me parece entrañable, entretenido, divertido, profundo. En fin, tiene algo que también debe ser de su carácter, que lo hace muy cálido para leer. Este libro me encanta porque entra al mundo académico, un mundo por el cual siempre he suspirado, por nunca haber vivido ni de cerca algo por el estilo. La vida me llevó a otras cosas, y una vida académica no estaba en los planes para mí.Davies sabe pintarla con todos sus aciertos y defectos, y esta historia tiene de todo, me encanta Parlabane, el "malo", Mc varish con lo horrible e irritante que es, me encanta Maria, su mamusia, Darcourt, y Hollier, en fin, no hay nada de este libro que no me haya gustado, tiene intrigas, sorpresas, amor, erudición, filosofía, sexo, uff, de todo. Y lo más importante, tiene sentido del humor dentro de toda esa erudición, no cualquiera logra ese balance, pero Davies lo hace de maravilla.Feliz de apenas estar empezando esta trilogía, pero triste porque es lo último que me queda por leer de la ficción de mi adorado Robertson Davies.

  • Zsofi
    2019-04-18 04:31

    at first I was to give five stars for this book. It was an amazing feeling how I could relate to its grotesque depiction of the academia. When i find an interesting book, i usually do everything to promote it among my friends. But this one, I wanted to hide away so that no one would have known how perfectly, intimidatingly touché it felt. How desperately I wanted to recycle those insightful sentences in casual discussion. The reason why I ended up giving only for stars is one of the narrators, Maria. To be honest, I think I have a thing against beautiful yet sparklingly intelligent female characters. Jealousy maybe? The feeling that I've been dragged into something cheap? I don't know. But in this case it was even worse. Sometimes she was so full of emotions that she stopped being intelligent, and sometimes she was just so smart that she stopped being a female voice. Still, it was a memorable read, even with such a flaw that I felt to be a definite weakness of Davies' s fiction.

  • Perry Whitford
    2019-04-07 22:32

    The Rebel Angels is the first in a superlative trilogy about friendship, love, knowledge, obsession and the arts, set in a Canadian university campus. As an eccentric, millionaire art collector dies and the three appointed executors get down to the task of sorting through his massive, uncataloged paintings and manuscripts, another old, disreputable university figure reappears on the scene, penniless and dressed in a dishevelled monk's habit, shamelessly cadging off all and sundry yet convinced of his own genius and superiority.Davies loves to echo and make allusion to great works of classical and medieval literature in his characters and plotting, most of which he makes accessible to all readers through clear yet unforced referencing. In this novel the life and works of Rabelais and Paracelcus are cleverly conjoined with the story of the Old Testament angels who were banished from heaven in disgrace, but brought wisdom with them which they gave to mankind. The Rebel Angels features two narrative voices for the price of one. 'The Second Paradise' is narrated by the marvelously named Maria Magdalene Theotoky, a bright and beautiful research assistant specializing in the works of Rabelais. Of mixed aristocratic and Romany parentage, she falls in love with her brilliant but frigid professor whilst others fall in love with her. 'The New Aubrey' is narrated by a professor-priest, Father Simon Harcourt, who is appointed one of the three executors responsible for carving up the collection and who also begins to write short, anecdotal biographies of many of the universities' characters, a la John Aubrey.A large percentage of the book is made up of little more than conversations between the characters, but Davies is a master of wise, witty dialogue, so that's fine by me. Like Gore Vidal, Davies can really make you believe that people can be simultaneously superlative in thought and language, a rarefied gift and reason enough to read his books. As well as being about the search for love and wisdom, The Rebel Angels is crammed full of interesting esoterica, such as the specific names given to the excrement of different animals (a hare craps "crotels", whereas an otter relieves itself in "spraints") and the ancient gypsy art of "bomari", a heat treatment used to revive the sound of aging violins.I first read this trilogy one after the other in 2003. The second book, What's Bred in the Bone, goes back into the past to look into the secretive life of the dead art collector, and is if anything better than this book, while the third installment (The Lyre of Orpheus) is a fitting denouement based around the staging of a play and replete with playful parallels of the King Arthur myth.I will re-read and review them also at some point, just for the pleasure.

  • Maj
    2019-04-03 02:07

    Sigh.Make this rating a very strong 3/5, nevertheless, about a decade after I read the second part of the Cornish trilogy, finally reading the first part left me disappointed and unsatisfied.Some of it could have something to do with the wildly differing forms of the novels...the Angels are pretty much diaries of two people spanning one year, while What's Bred In the Bone is a fictional biography. Some of it - and actually a great deal of it in my case is the fact that Maria's voice was just way off for me. Davies got Darcourt spot on - as an older man of some wisdom he knew how to give voice to a similarly inclined (I imagine) middle aged guy. Maria's inner voice as a 23-year old was just all wrong. I know, she was a scholar of medieval stuff/philosophy/whatever but even so the choices of phrases etc. were just weird for a 20-something female.As a positive, the book is highly quotable...often in a witty way, sometimes even moving (Maria's cry for Gypsies slaughtered in WW2), and does give reader some food for thought.

  • Giedre
    2019-04-06 01:15

    I feel quite bad about adding this book into my "unfinished" shelf, especially when I'm pretty close to the end already. The book counts with a wide public, has great reviews and I can only praise the author's talent to transmit in a witty way the usually unseen side of the academia. The characters reflect Davies' deep and admirable knowledge of philosophy, literature, history and a number of other subjects, but while I was profoundly enjoying this part, I could not get rid of the feeling that these characters, who are so deep academically, are two-dimensional in all other senses. I know that the book was meant to be comical, and maybe it's my fault that I'm not capable to fully appreciate the author's intention, but I simply couldn't see how the academic profoundness of the book can be compatible with the superficiality of the plot and the characters. I may give Davies another chance some time in the future, but I will put this book on pause in the meantime.

  • Rafa Sánchez
    2019-03-25 03:31

    Magnífica novela del autor de "El quinto en discordia", dentro del mismo estilo de plantear pequeños misterios casi cotidianos dentro del ámbito de la "Gran Cultura", con eruditos en los más pintorescos o exóticos campos del conocimiento de nuestra civilización. La trama transcurre, como es casi habitual en Robertson Davies, dentro de una destacada universidad canadiense (tan distintas, lamentablemente, a las españolas) y nos descubre campos de saber que no sospechamos que existan, como en la trilogía de Deptford. Filosofía, historia, medicina, religión... todo con un alto grado de humor, amenidad y elegancia... ¿parece imposible, verdad?.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-04-17 22:32

    As Francis Cornish, art expert and millionaire philanthropist, looks down from Limbo, nervously awaiting whatever is in store for his soul, his family and colleagues in Toronto oversee the disposal of his art collectionn.

  • Bill Guinee
    2019-04-02 23:26

    Marvelous book. Intelligent, philosophical, kind, and humorous. Who could ask for anything more.