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Happy Alchemy : On the Pleasures of Music and the Theatre


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ISBN 10: 0670880191 / ISBN 13: 9780670880195
Verlag: Viking Penguin, 1998
Zustand: As New Hardcover
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A perfect unread first edition hardback. New and carefully stored since publication in a dedicated book room. Language: eng Language: eng 0.0 Language: eng 0.0 Language: eng 0.0. Buchnummer des Verkäufers ABE-10781100348

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Happy Alchemy : On the Pleasures of Music ...

Verlag: Viking Penguin

Erscheinungsdatum: 1998

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand:As New

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: As New

Auflage: 1st Edition...

Über diesen Titel


A collection of thirty-three learned, wise, and witty essays, most of them previously unpublished, by the beloved Canadian author takes on such topics as Greek drama and music


The following passage reveals Robertson Davies's great love of the theater, and it shows that these collected pieces, numbering 33, transcend mere criticism: "For as long as I can remember, playgoing has stood first among all pleasures with me, and although to most people it is simply a pastime, I think that I have brought qualities to it which raised it above that.... I sincerely believe that I have been a good playgoer, and that is something better, perhaps, than having been a well-known critic."

One's admiration for this literary master doubles when remembering that drama was Davies's academic field, and it constituted one of his three successful careers (he acted with the Old Vic in England). By 1962, Davies had begun to craft his playgoing notes into the Theatre Diary--snippets of which appear in this posthumously published collection. Each of these 33 pieces, introduced by the author and followed by a diary entry or two, demonstrates Davies's enormous and diverse erudition. Included are speeches, prologues to plays, articles about the theatre and opera, a discussion of folksong, a children's opera, a story set to music, and a preliminary sketch of a film script. Several personal essays shed light on his own ambitions as a playwright.

Many of these pieces were lectures, and they enjoy the immediacy and cadence of the spoken word. A spacious tone ensues; that is, complex ideas are delivered clearly, because they are intended for a listening audience. Surprisingly, this enhances the pleasure of reading them. Happy Alchemy may not appeal to the reader whose interest in theater and opera is only occasional but certainly will to any ardent Robertson Davies fan who delights in the turnings of a learned and sophisticated mind. --Hollis Giammatteo

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