[PDF / Epub] ⚣ World of Wonders ✈ Robertson Davies – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk


World of Wonders Hailed By The Washington Post Book World As A Modern Classic, Robertson Davies S Acclaimed Deptford Trilogy Is A Glittering, Fantastical, Cunningly Contrived Series Of Novels, Around Which A Mysterious Death Is Woven World Of Wonders The Third Book In The Series After The Manticore Follows The Story Of Magnus Eisengrim The Most Illustrious Magician Of His Age Who Is Spirited Away From His Home By A Member Of A Traveling Sideshow, The Wanless World Of Wonders After Honing His Skills And Becoming Better Known, Magnus Unfurls His Life S Courageous And Adventurous Tale In This Third And Final Volume Of A Spectacular, Soaring WorkFor Than Seventy Years, Penguin Has Been The Leading Publisher Of Classic Literature In The English Speaking World With Than , Titles, Penguin Classics Represents A Global Bookshelf Of The Best Works Throughout History And Across Genres And Disciplines Readers Trust The Series To Provide Authoritative Texts Enhanced By Introductions And Notes By Distinguished Scholars And Contemporary Authors, As Well As Up To Date Translations By Award Winning Translators


10 thoughts on “World of Wonders

  1. says:

    Canadian Gothic The Uses of IllusionIf the first part of the Deptford Trilogy, Fifth Business, explores the bare facts of rural Canada on the turn to acivilized and ethnicly diverse culture and if the second part, The Manticore, suggests the fundamental ideas that shape these facts then this third part, World of Wonders, provides the parallel universe of feeling that is the substrate of both facts and ideas World of Wonders retells the previous stories, filling in the missing material Canadian Gothic The Uses of IllusionIf the first part of the Deptford Trilogy, Fifth Business, explores the bare facts of rural Canada on the turn to acivilized and ethnicly diverse culture and if the second part, The Manticore, suggests the fundamental ideas that shape these facts then this third part, World of Wonders, provides the parallel universe of feeling that is the substrate of both facts and ideas World of Wonders retells the previous stories, filling in the missing material necessary to understand the comprehensive illusion that Davies has created.Is there a definable boundary between fictional, or for that matter everyday, illusion and the truth Illusion demands extreme attention to detail in order to work If truth is in the detail, then illusion is at least a kind of truth, a truth of feeling perhaps rather than a truth of facts or ideas It is a truth about what we want to be true Not all illusion therefore qualifies as truthful Truthful illusion must be willed by both the illusionist and those who experience him This is what makes illusion an art form rather than a lie The highest expression of this art form is theatre, a place where feeling expressed and feeling perceived meet to create an illusory but authentic world.World of Wonders is about the art of theatrical illusion and how it is produced It takes an incredible amount of experience as well as talent to touch the unexpressed desires of an audience Dexterity, timing, memory, and courage are the minimal skills involved But these personal skills are only a foundation Theatrical illusion requires sharply honed coordination among a cast that includes at least as many in back of the stage as in front of it Creating truthful illusion therefore is a social, even a managerial, task of dense complexity.What is sought by an audience to illusion is wonder, the feeling that there is living mystery in the most mundane of things Wonder is a spiritual state, an awareness of the transcendent, most thoroughly investigated by the Austrian American theologian Peter Berger Berger s book, The Social Construction of Reality, touches precisely the same themes as Wonders of the World the nature of reality, the feeling of truth, the desire for the beyond Oswald Spengler called this the Magian World View Max Weber called it Enchantment Berger s death earlier this year emphasizes for me both the importance of these themes as well as their datedness in today s Trumpian loss of culture, including its banal degradation of religion.Davies knows how to keep his fictional illusion about the creation of illusion going at just the right pace He knows the details that are essential to its credibility And he knows from experience how his audience will react In the final section of World of Wonders, Davies has his symbolic protagonists from each of the three books in bed together arguing the merits of facts, ideas and feelings He is, in short, a master of illusion and its truthfulness, a literally wonderful writer


  2. says:

    My 5 star rating of this book really reflects my feelings on how I think Davies masterfully wrapped up the Deptford trilogy than it does an individual rating for this volume itself don t get me wrong, it s great, but I think Fifth Business is the strongest, and best, volume in the trilogy I guess I d say that the individual books themselves range from around 3.5 to 4.5 stars, but the series overall is a five star read As with all of the Deptford books _World of Wonders_ is a personal memoir My 5 star rating of this book really reflects my feelings on how I think Davies masterfully wrapped up the Deptford trilogy than it does an individual rating for this volume itself don t get me wrong, it s great, but I think Fifth Business is the strongest, and best, volume in the trilogy I guess I d say that the individual books themselves range from around 3.5 to 4.5 stars, but the series overall is a five star read As with all of the Deptford books _World of Wonders_ is a personal memoir that gives us further insight, from yet another angle, into the lives and motivations of the characters we met in earlier volumes, most of whom hailed from the small Ontario town of Deptford The problems of the memoir style itself the inescapable desire to make oneself into the hero, the inability to really understand the motivations and actions of others from one s limited point of view, the unreliability of looking back onto the past from the vantage of the present are perhaps brought evento the fore in this volume than they were in the others as we sit back and listen to the harrowing tale of the life of the mysterious magus Magnus Eisengrim, nPaul Dempster.Magnus, along with our old friends Dunstan Ramsay and Leisl Vitzliputzli, is in the midst of starring in a film in which he is portraying the legendary conjurer Jean Eug ne Robert Houdin During the course of filming, and in a completely characteristic attempt to demonstrate his own personal greatness and provide a sub text to the film, Eisengrim decides to reveal to his friends and the filmmaker s entourage the details of his life that led to his becoming, in his own words, the greatest conjurer that has ever lived It is certainly not a story that bears any resemblance to the romantic biography fashioned by Ramsay as a piece of propaganda for Eisengrim s Soiree of Illusions What we are instead presented with is a tale of abuse, loneliness, and fortitude as we see young Paul Dempster kidnapped from his awful home in Deptford only to have it replaced by an awful purgatory in the travelling carnival Wanless World of Wonders Eisengrim only the last in a long line of many aliases is truly a self made man As he himself mentions, the treatment and conditions under which he lived from the age of ten onwards were of a kind that would either have killed him early or strengthened him beyond expectation Luckily for Paul Dempster the latter proved to be the case We see how a lonely, frightened boy could be transformed into the monster of ego and talent that was Magnus Eisengrim, and once again observe how the ripples of effect from one small action the throwing of that fateful snowball on a cold winter day in Deptford in 1908 helped shape yet another life Eisengrim, for all of his suffering, is not a sympathetic hero though hero he is, in all of his outsized grandeur and once again it is fascinating to see the same characters and actions from the previous volumes of the trilogy as viewed through a completely different lens Luckily in my opinion at least we once again have the voice of Dunstan Ramsay, that clever old schoolmaster and saint hunter, though in a decidedly minor key Eisengrim is certainly not going to let anyone interfere with his own personal hagiography, but Ramsay s caustic tongue is given some range of expression and his scholar s eye is always on the look out for the truth at least inasmuch as he is able to perceive it We discover in this tale the final pieces of the puzzle in the coming together of Magnus, Leisl and Ramsay and the production of that great work of illusion and art, the life of Magnus Eisengrim as depicted in his own Soiree of Illusions , but I will leave the details of Paul Dempster s hero s journey to you Rest assured that the culmination of it is a thoroughly entertaining, one might even say enlightening, tale that takes us very far indeed from the environs of little Deptford but still manages to come full circle and comment on the series that was born there as a whole Boy Staunton, that unchallenged giant and yet largely obscure figure in the lives of others, makes his final appearance and we can now look back on the many stories of the Stauntons, the Ramsays and the Dempsters in order to get a much fuller though still never really complete picture of those intertwined lives that affected each other in such significant ways So, I would guess, do all of our lives knowingly or unknowingly intertwine and create an inextricable web of story and interdependence, whether we realize it or not Also posted at Shelf Inflicted


  3. says:

    So bizarre So perfect So Canada.


  4. says:

    An amazing trilogy, all taken together Ramsay was by far my favorite character and was glad to see him back in this last story.Also loved learning how Paul became an amazing magician More of Liesel was in this book and I found her character fascinating Of course the big question of who killed Boy Staunton is solved in this ending piece.Wonderfully well written this whole trilogy pinpointed the small minds that can live in a village, where everyone knows everything about each other Judgments An amazing trilogy, all taken together Ramsay was by far my favorite character and was glad to see him back in this last story.Also loved learning how Paul became an amazing magician More of Liesel was in this book and I found her character fascinating Of course the big question of who killed Boy Staunton is solved in this ending piece.Wonderfully well written this whole trilogy pinpointed the small minds that can live in a village, where everyone knows everything about each other Judgments are formed and never changed Yet, for some all points still lead to home


  5. says:

    Yay, Ramsay is back Not that David Staunton was a terrible narrator, but I will always, always have a soft spot in my heart for that irascible old teacher, descended from Scots and obsessed with saints And now here he is, back to narrating the book Sort of.Although Ramsay is technically the narrator, he is consigned to the frame story, and Magnus Eisengrim or Paul Dempster, back when he was from Deptford takes centre stage World of Wonders is notable if only for the fact that most of the p Yay, Ramsay is back Not that David Staunton was a terrible narrator, but I will always, always have a soft spot in my heart for that irascible old teacher, descended from Scots and obsessed with saints And now here he is, back to narrating the book Sort of.Although Ramsay is technically the narrator, he is consigned to the frame story, and Magnus Eisengrim or Paul Dempster, back when he was from Deptford takes centre stage World of Wonders is notable if only for the fact that most of the paragraphs begin with an opening quotation mark, as the majority of the story gets retold via dialogue almost a monologue, in fact, though there are crucial points where the listeners to Eisengrim s tale interrupt and interject.The book takes its title from the carnival that abducted Paul on that fateful day back in Deptford This event, combined with the interest in prestidigitation that the young Ramsay had awakened, would set Paul on the trajectory for the rest of his life We get to learn what makes Magnus Eisengrim so different from anyone else, especially when it comes to his utter lack of a formal education and his ignorance of any culture or literature that is not Biblical Much as various characters entered and exited the lives of Dunstan Ramsay and David Staunton in the first two books, each one shaping the narrator in some way, we see the effects each character in Magnus autobiography have on his own life.Yet I should not neglect the frame story Ramsay explains that they are all at Sorgenfrei, Liesl s estate, to finish filming a biopic about the famous French conjurer, Robert Houdin Magnus happens to be portraying Robert Houdin, and they determine that it would be best if he provides some subtext, in the form of an autobiography Magnus is at that point in his life, Liesl observes, where he is feeling confessional, and so they gather around him to hear his tale We hear an interesting life story, but we also get a meditation on the art of autobiography.I think it s fair to compare the Deptford trilogy to the works of John Irving, in that both Davies and Irving tend to focus on recounting the lifetime of a single main character, subsuming plot to the character s own development However, the Deptford trilogy is a lotmeta and self aware In Fifth Business and The Manticore, this is particularly obvious in Ramsay s discussion of saints and David s flirtation with Jungian psychoanalysis Now with World of Wonders Davies focuses on how we perceive ourselves, and, in particular, how we tell our life stories Throughout Magnus confession, his listeners interrupt him to discuss not only what he tells them but how he tells it, how he portrays his younger self and how he editorializes the story It just so happens through one of those miracles of coincidence owing to an author s creative license that the producer of the film, Ingestree, knew Magnus in one of his previous lives Magnus recognized this the moment he saw Ingestree, but Ingestree only realizes it as Magnus starts telling his story So we get a parallel account of parts of Magnus life through Ingestree s eyes Each of them potrays the other in a rather unflattering light, and each admits his own past self was an ass Whether you wish to believe such contrition or choose, instead, to believe that each is secretly fuming at how the other portrayed him is ultimately up to you.So the art of autobiography is ultimately an unreliable one That probably isn t a big shock, but Davies does explore this theme in a masterful way And he connects the main story and this theme to the overarching plot of the trilogy Other reviews insist that the central question the mystery, if you will of the Deptford trilogy is, Who killed Boy Staunton I have to disagree, however, because I just can t get worked up about that The Deptford trilogy is not a mystery series, and while the question is of interest to some of the characters, it s of little relevance to us as readers.No, what I findinteresting is how the death of Boy affected the other characters David, Ramsay, and even Magnus In the coda to A World of Wonders, Ramsay broaches the question again as he, Liesl, and Magnus are having a nightcap in bed They discuss Liesl and Magnus roles, for Liesl was the voice of the Brazen Head of Friar Bacon that answered the question David shouted in that crowded theatre Magnus was probably the last person who saw Boy Staunton alive, for Boy gave him a ride back to his hotel after Ramsay introduced them on that fateful night And Magnus recounts what Boy said about Ramsay I really liked hearing that, because it provided access, albeit second hand, to a narrative perspective we had lacked so far the voice of Boy Staunton himself Ramsay portrays him in an unflattering light in Fifth Business, and as much as I love Ramsay, he is hardly an unbiased narrator It was good to hear another perspective on my favourite character in this series, especially one that suggests alternative motives for why Ramsay introduced Magnus to Boy and why he had kept that stone for so long.Ultimately, the trilogy is not about answering, Who killed Boy Staunton , though in the end, it does answer the question It is instead an incredibly intricate, interconnected telling of lives, love, and relationships It has a subtext grounded firmly both in Jungian analysis and in interesting perspectives on the flexibility of art, autobiography, and education Each book in the trilogy is amazing in its own peculiar way, and though I think Fifth Business remains my favourite, its dominance is by a small margin The Manticore was a fascinating look at psychoanalysis and how our mind casts others as characters in our own stories World of Wonders continues this autobiographical theme, always questioning its own premise for existing that of a single, central character relative to whom everyone else has a mere supporting role.This is the type of book where there are few passages I feel like quoting outright, mostly because they are not as profound when taken out of context, but I wish I could somehow distill the entire book into a quotation sized passage for others to read It s just that good, that essential by which I mean, this trilogy conveys emotions and meaning that seem obvious when one encounters them, but that, until one encounters them in this form, might never occur to one at all World of Wonders and the rest of the Deptford trilogy is a labour of love that in turn has taken on a life of its own What Davies has done here is what literature should do, what it does best tap into something deep, dark, and true about the human psyche and dredge it up for the world to see He has exposed us, all of us to the light of introspection and critical thought His characters are neither good nor bad but complex quagmires of passions, obsessions, recriminations and doubts they are people, and through them we thinkabout ourselves.I started re reading Fifth Business because I remembered liking it I had read the other two books, but they had not left as much as an impression Now, having finished the entire trilogy for a second time, I cannot overstate my appreciation of it enough This is a work I consider a truly timeless classic, and I am very glad I took the time to re experience it at this stage in my life In a year, or five years, or a decade from now, however long it is before I re read it again, I suspect I will get something different out of it I am certain, however, that its importance and significance to me will not diminish.My Reviews of the Deptford Trilogy The Manticore


  6. says:

    World ofWonders completes Robertson Davies Deptford Trilogy, giving the reader a third window on the same period of time after Dunstan Ramsey and David Staunton, now Magnus Eisengrim aka Paul Dempster Although this book is nominally narrated by Ramsey, it is Eisengrim s story that is highlighted, with Ramsey reporting the recording angel the trip from being Nobody to being very much Somebody This is very much a universal trip, that of being Nobody within our mothers wombs to becoming Som World ofWonders completes Robertson Davies Deptford Trilogy, giving the reader a third window on the same period of time after Dunstan Ramsey and David Staunton, now Magnus Eisengrim aka Paul Dempster Although this book is nominally narrated by Ramsey, it is Eisengrim s story that is highlighted, with Ramsey reporting the recording angel the trip from being Nobody to being very much Somebody This is very much a universal trip, that of being Nobody within our mothers wombs to becoming Somebody in wider world Not all of us will become famous, rich or even well known, but we will make our presence felt in our corner of the world, be it a traveling carnival, the law courts, a boy s school or any other workplace Davies time spent as an actor really shines through in this novel he knows what will work with an audience and shows how Eisengrim Dempster acquires this knowledge At the same time, he is well aware of what a reading audience requires as well, and the book ticks along well, with well placed pauses where one can put down the book and get on with one s own life for a while His observations on small town life in Canada during the early 20th century are spot on the self righteous religiosity, the gossip, the petty competitions, the clash of personalities and philosophies Having come from a rather religious small prairie town myself, I can recognize all the types Davies plays with These people, of course, occur in the wider world as well I have often observed, as I have changed workplaces, that all the same people are in each office, they just have different names Human nature is not as limitless and varied as we flatter ourselves to think it is My only complaint about WoW is a matter of biology, namely Rango, the primate used in the carnival act Davies cannot seem to make up his mind which primate species Rango is We are told that he is an orangutan and at one point he appears in the dress of a female member of the company, indicating a good size , but at various times he is also described as having a tail Now, I know from Mr Davies novel What s Bred in the Bone, that he knows a little something about monkeys Old World vs New World and prehensile tails, etc , so how could his knowledge not include the well known fact that apes, such as orangutans, do not have tails It drove me crazy Although not as wonderful as the first book, Fifth Business, WoW is a delightful way to pull all the strings together and provide a sense of completion for the reader Still one of my favourite books, despite the monkey business


  7. says:

    Who killed Boy Staunton That s the question finally answered in this final installment of Davies Deptford Trilogy The first book Fifth Business is the best of the bunch and worth reading on its own The second , The MAnticore is a bit dull and this one is somewhat better It s certainly an interesting bunch of characters but I am not sure it was worth reading the entire trilogy just to tie up the loose ends from the first book.


  8. says:

    Rating should probably be 3 1 2 stars Read this last volume of the trilogy before I ve read the first two Probably the wrong way to do it, but that s how it went This volume was enjoyable enough that I ll read the others at some point.Edited review and rating Once again, reading the novel in the order in which it was intended to be read made all the difference Robertson Davies was the Dickens of the last half of the 20th century.


  9. says:

    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen From the Letter to the HebrewsDavies Deptford Trilogy is completed by this, World of Wonders, and like the New Testament phrase from the Epistle to the Hebrews, is about the evidence of things not seen As is reiterated a couple ortimes in these pages, Without attention to detail there is no illusion, and true to this epigram we focus a great deal of attention on establishing how illusion is created, m Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen From the Letter to the HebrewsDavies Deptford Trilogy is completed by this, World of Wonders, and like the New Testament phrase from the Epistle to the Hebrews, is about the evidence of things not seen As is reiterated a couple ortimes in these pages, Without attention to detail there is no illusion, and true to this epigram we focus a great deal of attention on establishing how illusion is created, maintained and, ultimately, dispelled when the eye of faith is put to the test.Here, after the hiatus of the second volume in which the focus is on David Staunton we return to the first volume s narrator, Dunstan Ramsay, ensconced in Schloss Sorgenfrei in the Swiss Alps near St Gall It is the early 1970s and our attention is held by the illusionist Magnus Eisengrim, who s taking part in a BBC drama documentary about the historical illusionist Robert Houdin from whom, incidentally, Houdini took his stage name.Ramsay is recounting the conversations that took place after filming each day, between Eisengrim, the BBC producer, director and cameraman, plus Eisengrim s colleagues Dr Liselotte Naegeli and, of course, Ramsay, conversations that later continue in London Through these prandial and post pradial chats we hear a lot of history, learn a lot of secrets and discover how illusion can fool the eye of the beholder.As the theatre of the Great War made the greatest impression in Fifth Business on Ramsay s thinking, and the theatre of the mind on Staunton in The Manticore , other theatres dominate World of Wonders These include the desperate life of carnival people in early 20th century sideshows and vaudeville, thesalubrious life of a theatre company in repertory and on tour, the private shows that the wealthy could create with automata, and domestic entertainments which viewers were able to enjoy through their television sets.Finally, as most theatre is predicated on narrative, there is the storytelling that occurs when people get together, in which there are players and audience and in which the substance and many of the tellings create illusions which may or may not be true In carnival parlance Gaff is the element of deception, the Talent are the artistes and a Rube is an innocent member of the public Who is to say we readers aren t Rubes when it comes to a gifted spinner of tales like Eisengrim through the mouthpiece that is Davies Magnus Eisengrim, with his wolfish grin, is the Talent Extraordinaire of World of Wonders He goes under many names Paul Dempster in rural Canada, Cass Fletcher in Wanless s World of Wonders, Jules or Faustus LeGrand in The Soir e of Illusions, Mungo Fetch in the Tresize Company, and finally Magnus Eisengrim, the world s greatest illusionist it can hardly be surprising that the initials of his final incarnation spell ME, symbolic of the egoist that he has learnt to be Moreover, he plays Abdullah in the carnival sideshow, Robert Houdin in the TV documentary as Scaramouche in the theatre he was supposed to be imitating a great actor who was imitating an eighteenth century gentleman who was imitating a Commedia dell Arte comedian, that s how simple it was Simple it ain t And like the young Merlin who in the legends is privately amused by what others cannot see Eisengrim laughs at all and sundry, particularly the unfortunate BBC producer who realises too late that he is the archetypal Rube.Conventional theatre, with its proscenium arch, wasn t experimental but was about the romance of storytelling, of persuading the audience that what they see beyond the fourth wall stage set, actions, emotions is in some way real Without the uttermost organisation of detail there was no illusion, and consequently no romance The problem of such illusioning, a kind of bedevilment, is that the boundaries between what are seen as absolute Good and absolute Evil become fluid, less definable and World of Wonders touches on this So, over and over again violence begets violence a stone in a snowball, a war injury, an apparent suicide, a rape what chain of causation and consequence might there be from a single action Some evils may be consciously withheld and their impulse kept hidden But do we not all play, in our minds, with terrible thoughts which we would never dare to put into action Could we live without some hidden instincts of revolt, of some protest against out fate in life On the other hand, some evils cannot help but erupt into human existence Boredom and stupidity and patriotism, especially when combined, are three of the greatest evils of the world we live in World of Wonders is a deeply ambiguous piece, entertaining us even as it gets us to question our assumptions The characters are unforgettable but the story is unsettling, even as it moves the trilogy towards a resolution The truths it tells may not be overt but they are there nonetheless, under the surface gloss


  10. says:

    The first hundred pages seems to drag as we delve into Paul Dempster s early life as a carny However, World of Wonders finally begins to take off as Dempster arrives in Europe and we are introduced to some interesting new characters with whom we can sympathizeDavies saves the last fifty pages of the trilogy to finally give us some tidbits into the life and personality of Liesl whom, for myself, was one of the most interesting characters in the entire series As to the Deptford trilogy itself, W The first hundred pages seems to drag as we delve into Paul Dempster s early life as a carny However, World of Wonders finally begins to take off as Dempster arrives in Europe and we are introduced to some interesting new characters with whom we can sympathizeDavies saves the last fifty pages of the trilogy to finally give us some tidbits into the life and personality of Liesl whom, for myself, was one of the most interesting characters in the entire series As to the Deptford trilogy itself, World of Wonders should be read as part of the Deptford trilogy and not as a stand alone title Although it is a good book on its own, neither this book nor Manticore was as interesting as the initial title, Fifth Business A person could stop after reading Fifth Business and be satisfied in knowing they have read the best of the series One could easily skip the second title, The Manticore, and move immediately to World of Wonders and not lose much in terms of continuity As to the question we are left with as Fifth Business comes to an end, who killed Boy Staunton , World of Wonders gives a conclusion with which we can be satisfied.My biggest disappointment with the trilogy is that we were never given a chance to see life from Mary Dempster s perspective Her story would surely have been farintriguing than that of David Staunton s Perhaps someday an aspiring young writer will give us Mary s account in the same manner Jean Rhys did for Bertha Mason with Wide Sargasso Sea


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *