Part of "Salterton" trilogy, this third volume begins with the funeral of Louisa Bridgetower, the Salterton matron. The substantial income from her estate is to be used to send an unmarried young woman to Europe to pursue an education in the arts. But, her executors select Monica Gall, an almost entirely unschooled singer.
"A Mixture of Frailties", the third volume of Robertson Davies "Salterton" Trilogy, is his first extended engagement with one of the great neuroses of Canadian culture: Canada's artistic relationship to Europe, and particularly to Britain. Davies begins his story with the funeral of Louisa Bridgetower, the Salterton matron whose imposing presence ranges throughout the earlier volumes of the "Salterton" Trilogy. The substantial income from her estate is to be used to send an unmarried young woman to Europe to pursue an education in the arts. Mrs. Bridgetower's executors end up selecting Monica Gall, an almost entirely unschooled singer whose sole experience comes from performing with the Heart and Hope Gospel Quartet, a rough outfit sponsored by a small fundamentalist group. Monica soon finds herself in England, a pupil of some of Britain's most remarkable teachers and composers, and she gradually blossoms from a Canadian rube to a cosmopolitan soprano with a unique - and tragicomic - career.
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Robertson Davies, novelist, playwright, literary critic and essayist, was born in 1913 in Thamesville, Ontario. The Manticore was published in 1973, followed by The Salterton Trilogy (Tempest-Tost, Leaven of Malice, winner of the Leacock Award for Humour, and A Mixture of Frailties); The Deptford Trilogy (Fifth Business, The Manticore and World of Wonders); The Cornish Trilogy (The Rebel Angels, What's Bred in the Bone, shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize, and The Lyre of Orpheus); Murther & Walking Spirits; and The Cunning Man. His other work includes One Half of Robertson Davies, The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies, Robertson Davies: The Well-Tempered Critic, The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks, High Spirits, A Voice from the Attic and The Merry Heart, a posthumous collection of autobiography, lectures and essays. Many of his books are published by Penguin. Robertson Davies died in December 1995.
A Mixture of Frailties by Robertson Davies
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Penguin Books Ltd
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