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High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories…
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High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories (origineel 1982; editie 2002)

door Robertson Davies (Auteur)

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High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories by Robertson Davies (2002)
Lid:aaronarnold
Titel:High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories
Auteurs:Robertson Davies (Auteur)
Info:Penguin Books (2002), 208 pages
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High Spirits door Robertson Davies (1982)

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It would have been worth doing a Ph. D. at the University of Toronto in the 1960s and 70s to have been invited to the Christmas Party at Massey College. Massey College was newly built with a generous donation from the Massey Foundation when Robertson Davies was brought in as the first Master in 1963. It is one of only three residential graduate colleges in Canada. It seems like a very convivial place to study having special dinners a couple of times a month, a Christmas dance, the aforesaid Christmas party and other opportunities to eat, drink and discuss. Yes, it is haunted, as Davies was to discover, but the ghosts are the very best kind of spirit. Several royal personages, a couple of Canadian Prime Ministers, notable scientists and dramatists--that's the calibre of haunting in Massey College. Fortunately Robertson Davies was there to chronicle every manifestation and he would entertain the gathering at the annual Christmas party with the news. Since Davies is the amanuensis there are witticisms and puns in every story. I probably didn't catch everything because I suspect some remarks were meant to be understood only by those in attendance. One I certainly did understand is contained in the story "The Pit Whence Ye Are Digged". In it all the attendees at a special dinner are thrust back in time to the year 1774 where they become their own ancestor. One person was wearing a black band on his left arm and he told his neighbour that it was in morning for the Scots poet Robert Fergusson who had died recently. He declared "The name of Fergusson will never die." which was met by a murmured comment "No, never so long as it is linked with the name of Massey." As a farm girl I was very familiar with the line of farm equipment made by the firm Massey-Fergusson! ( )
1 stem gypsysmom | Apr 22, 2018 |
This collection of ghost stories (sort of) written for and set in the academia of the University of Toronto is well-written but ultimately rather dull stuff. These tales were meant to be read out loud by Davies to his peers at the college, and I'm sure all the inside-baseball killed there and then. But here and now, I can't really recommend this unless you happen to be a professor at the University of Toronto. Do you?
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
I love Robertson Davies's work. I love his erudition, his humor, his wisdom, his sense of fun. This is the first collection of short stories I've read of him, a sort of MR Jamesian tribute to the scholarly tradition of a ghost story at Christmas. Unlike James, however, these stories aren't meant to scare so much as amuse and enlighten, which they do time and again.

Davies was the founding master at Massey College, a position which he held for eighteen years. For each of those eighteen years he composed and read aloud a new story each Christmas, stories which initially centered around the ghosts of certain famous figures, but which later branched out into supernatural stories of broaderdescription. The stories vary in quality, several seemingly written just because they had to be, but the very best are crammed full of of the trademark Davies style, rich and palatable like a fine dessert wine. The worst can merely be called a pleasant waste of time. A couple are derivative of earlier stories, but this is generally the nature of a collection composed over eighteen years.

One slight disappointment: Knowing nothing of the college in which these stories are set, I initially imagined a venerable old institution, dripping with history and lore, but a quick google search reveals a thoroughly modern construction more in keeping with a polytechnic than a college. A bit naive of me perhaps; Canada is still a relatively new country after all. Still, Davies's style is enough to evoke an older era and one in which life seems to have been savored with so much more gusto and panache. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
I love Robertson Davies's work. I love his erudition, his humor, his wisdom, his sense of fun. This is the first collection of short stories I've read of him, a sort of MR Jamesian tribute to the scholarly tradition of a ghost story at Christmas. Unlike James, however, these stories aren't meant to scare so much as amuse and enlighten, which they do time and again.

Davies was the founding master at Massey College, a position which he held for eighteen years. For each of those eighteen years he composed and read aloud a new story each Christmas, stories which initially centered around the ghosts of certain famous figures, but which later branched out into supernatural stories of broaderdescription. The stories vary in quality, several seemingly written just because they had to be, but the very best are crammed full of of the trademark Davies style, rich and palatable like a fine dessert wine. The worst can merely be called a pleasant waste of time. A couple are derivative of earlier stories, but this is generally the nature of a collection composed over eighteen years.

One slight disappointment: Knowing nothing of the college in which these stories are set, I initially imagined a venerable old institution, dripping with history and lore, but a quick google search reveals a thoroughly modern construction more in keeping with a polytechnic than a college. A bit naive of me perhaps; Canada is still a relatively new country after all. Still, Davies's style is enough to evoke an older era and one in which life seems to have been savored with so much more gusto and panache. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
Wonderful ghost stories that are not scary in the least. ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 25, 2016 |
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AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Robertson Daviesprimaire auteuralle editiesberekend
BascoveArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
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Ghost stories came into my life before I could read.
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The ICC (Ideal College Cat) had many novel features which distinguished it from the ordinary domestic cat. ... Another of its beauties was that it possessed a novel means of elimination. Frank's cat was made with a small shovel on the end of its tail with which it could, once a week, remove its own ashes and deposit them behind the College ... the cat was made to sustain itself on a diet of waste-paper, and what it produced in the manner I have described was not unlike confetti.
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