Buy Used
CDN$ 1.38
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See more of our deals.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Rebel Angels Paperback – Mar 31 1983

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

See all 17 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, Mar 31 1983
CDN$ 113.70 CDN$ 1.38

99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
click to open popover

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (March 31 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140061762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140061765
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #998,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

From Amazon

The Rebel Angels is the inaugural volume of the Cornish Trilogy, Robertson Davies's final completed series. These are Davies's oddest books, and they've sparked more controversy than any of his other works, simply because they are the most sensitive to a reader's tastes--depending on one's sensibilities, they will either prove to be delightful or dreadfully dull.

Like A Mixture of Frailties, the first of Davies's major novels, The Rebel Angels revolves around the execution of a difficult will. In this case, the estate is of one Francis Cornish, a fantastically rich patron and collector of Canadian art and a noted antiquarian bibliophile. A lost Rabelais manuscript is rumoured to be among his possessions, and his executors include the deliciously revolting Renaissance scholar Urquhart McVarish; Professor Clement Hollier, a classically middle-aged inhabitant of the ivory tower; and the Reverend Simon Darcourt, Davies's obligatory humanist clergyman. A heroine is provided in the form of Maria Theotoky, a beautiful Ph.D. student of Professor Hollier's. A rich, funny, and slightly ribald campus novel results, one that revels in the fustian of the now-vanished pre-postmodern university.

The Cornish Trilogy is by far the most arcane of Davies's major works. The later volumes, What's Bred in the Bone and The Lyre of Orpheus, extend out of the corporeal world, bringing angels, daimons, and souls in limbo into the fray. Davies's love for obscure learning is at its peak here. While he is often faulted for this, it is really the best part of the fun, provided the reader is willing to follow him into the storehouses of forgotten thought and accept that there is still much of contemporary relevance in the disused fancies of the past. --Jack Illingworth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Frederick Davidson reads this multi-layered book with more or less success. On one level, Davies's novel is "about" four academics: Maria Theotoky, the brilliant, beautiful graduate student; her adviser, the ascetic Dr. Hollier; Simon Darcourt, the bon vivant priest; and Parlabane, once an outstanding scholar, now sycophant to his former classmates. Then there is the basic plot theme: Who will end up with the girl? Standard stuff. Yet the real focus here is on the spiritual and/or mystical personal explorations of the main characters. Unfortunately the story's lack of organizational coherence has a negative effect on the apparent striving for deeper meaning. In addition, while Davidson is an extremely competent reader of male voices, he makes the supposedly alluring Maria sound almost maternal. For all its imperfections, this book is a compelling performance. Recommended for moderate to large literature collections.?I. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
About a quarter of way into the reading, I was reminded of Canada's other famous funny man, Saul Bellow, especially Humboldt's Gift. As I delved deeper, I saw a definitive difference: Bellow was more exuberant, and Davies wiser, more a deadpan. Just an aside, not meant as a comparative analysis.
As I read, I was swept off the floor by Davies's erudition and insight. While I understood that the disciplines described in the book were his own field of academic study, and I should not feel too badly for myself if I didn't know much about Mediavel culture, Rabelais, and Gypsy lores, however, the way Mr. Davies pulled them together is nothing short of magic. Regardless of your knowledge and scholarship, to make medieval stuff fun and funny is no small talent. Even for those who do not share Davies's sense of humor will not come out empty-handed, as the tidbits of knowledge and myth can sure serve one well in cocktail conversations. This is the positive, treasure box side.
Now the complaint. Despite the acclaim that the novel is a ground-breaking depiction of the ivory tower of academic pursuit, Mr. Davies failed to give a true, or truly inspired account in this regard. The characters are, by and large, two-dimensional caricatures, and in the case of female protagonists (Maria/Mamusia), not even fully a one-dimensional line. While Mr. Davies was unquestionably talented in seeing and playing off Academic Man's eccentricities and neurocism, he was not as good in injecting him with the proper counter dose of humanity, to make him truly three dimensional. Simon Darcourt is the best of the ilk, but even he does not compare in vivacity and believability to similar characters (e.g. Humboldt of the aforementioned Bellow). I find the carricaturization a severe flaw.
Read more ›
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Rebel Angels immediately entered my personal canon of favorite works of literature. Could it be the perfect novel? It features astounding characters, well defined and memorable (especially the unforgettable John Parlabane, almost as singular a character as Liesl in Davies' Deptford Trilogy). It features a page turning plot. I was initially hoping for a literary mystery, along the lines of Eco, when the "lost manuscript" is introduced. The plot doesn't exactly lead that way, but creates its own twists and turns, both comic and tragic.
Davies' fine novel is an erudite display of knowledge, philosophy, emotion. There are no blacks and whites, nor even shades of grey. Each character is peppered alternately both black and white...each an incredibly real person encompassing friendship and selfishness, good and evil.
This is the kind of novel you feel better for having read. It impressed me on each page; a great work of literature as well as a very enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rarely have I read a book that is so dead-on in its depiction of the petty concerns turned to obsession and often ingrown, self-righteous "worldly" provincialism that is higher academia. Robertson Davies has perfectly captured all the head spinning egotism and resulting humor (so ready for those not wrapped up in themselves or their work to discover) that is always lurking within its ivy-covered halls.
At its core, "The Rebel Angels" is the story of the trials and joys that a student assistant to a medieval literature instructor goes through as she works with "the great man." Most of these trials (and a couple of the joys) arrive in the form of John Parlabane. It is Parlabane's return that sets off the action of the plot. It is his departure that sets off its resolution.
"The Rebel Angels" is one of those rare books that has a plot so intricate, and characters so unique that I do not wish to spoil it with too much elaboration here. Instead, I'd rather sing the praises of Davies as an author.
Davies is, first and foremost, a master of the English language. His turns of phrase are wonderfully expressive. They always hit the mark perfectly. Rarely has such a wit walked the Earth. In my opinion Davies is the greatest example of the classical definition of a "wit" since the time of Pope and Dryden. His mastery of language and wit make "The Rebel Angels" a dangerously funny book. He had me laughing at some pretty awful things.
Yet, inspite of some of its more juvenile moments, "The Rebel Angels" also contemplates some of the deeper things. The whole book serves to challenge our very modern, very empirical worldviews. Is all knowledge exclusively progressive? It'd be mighty vain to think so. "The Rebel Angels" takes us to task for doing just that.
This is a great book. I give it my full recommendation.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It took me a couple pages to catch on to the way Davies constructed this novel. It's written in six sets of chapter couplets, which made for a really unique storyline. Two narrators take their turn in describing the current thread of the story... one is the beautiful and brilliant student of Comparative Literature, Maria Theotoky. The other is Professor Simon Darcourt who teaches New Testament Greek. He is not the only professor of the University who acknowledges that Maria is among the "scholarly elect"... Darcourt becomes enamored of her, but she has already become the special pet of Professor Hollier. His impetuous seduction of her leaves her a bit bewildered, for rather than the continued intimacy she desires from this man she greatly admires, he becomes distant. When his eccentric longtime friend John Parlabane returns for a visit (which never ends) the relationship between Maria and Hollier becomes even more confined to that of professor - research assistant.
Meanwhile, a wealthy art collecter (Arthur Cornish) passes away and leaves his estate to be settled by three executors, all of them being professors at the University. They are Hollier, Darcourt, and a true nut by the name of McVarish. As they go through the mountain of Cornish's priceless items, Hollier becomes obsessed with the recovery of a manuscript of Rabelais which he is convinced McVarish once purloined and never returned. McVarish denies ever having borrowed the papers from Cornish, but Hollier will not give up. His obsession is motivated and fueled by the fact that the authentic document would greatly advance Maria in her own doctoral work on Rabelais, and he longs to do something tangible that will atone for his earlier seduction of her.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews

Look for similar items by category