cultured madmen and the depford trilogy

ah… spring break. What a glorious release from the chilling grasp of Winter quarter. As always, it takes about 3 days just to unwind. I committed to reading a novel again this break – getting away for course prep and back to the heartbeat of life. I have been a fan of Robertson Davies for quite some time – his Cornish Trilogy is certainly a must read for theologians in the academy. For some reason I never picked up the Depford Trilogy Fifth Business, The Manicore, and World of Wonders – but have been eating it up these past couple of days. I am particularly loving Fifth Business which is part classic bildungsroman, part F. Scott Fitzgerald, and part theatrical realism. The latter sub genre seems quite in vogue at present with films such as The Illusionist and The Prestige bring out late Victorian magical theatre to a 21st century audience.

A quote I love at present from Fifth Business:

On teaching at an All-Boys School:

“I liked the company of most of my colleagues, who were equally divided among good men who were good teachers, awful men who were awful teachers, and the grotesques and misfits who drift into teaching and are so often the most educative influences a boy meets in school. If a boy can’t have a good teacher, give him a psychological cripple or an exotic failure to cope with; don’t just give him a bad, dull teacher. This is where the private schools score over the state-run schools; they can accommodate a few cultured madmen on the staff without having to offer explanations.” (p. 129)

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