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The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  273 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In this collection of his newspaper pieces, mostly from the late Forties, Davies introduces us to his alter ego, a mildly irascible curmudgeon whose opinions and observations have been so popular in Canada that three volumes of his columns have been published there: The Diary , The Table Talk , and The Garland of Miscellania. Davies has re-edited them to produce a single v ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published May 1st 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1985)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone over the age of 12
Recommended to Walker by: Antoine
As Tony suggested, I found quite the companion in old Sam, one of the last "true" New Englanders who still does battle with the stove in his basement, and views the world with irony and honesty all at once. I still need to return it to the library -__-
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
I have enjoyed many of his books, but this one was amazingly boring. Maybe you have to be a Canadian of a certain age to get it.
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This is another 3.5 stars.

I really enjoyed it, a lot. It's basically just Robertson Davies being random, and making silly observations under the guise of Samuel Marchbanks. It's definitely funny, definitely worth reading. But there's nothing really memorable. I have general impressions, but no specifics. For one, it's not a continuous narraitive. It's diary entries, then random digressions on subjects, then random and often-unrelated samples of correspondence. Which is fun, but I was in no way e
Ryan Vaughan
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am unrestrained in my admiration for this book. The book itself is a collection of letters, diary entries, and fragments of table talk which were written ,and in the case of the table talk spoken by Davies alter ego Samuel Marchbanks. It is a book to read straight through but it is also one to dip into. Here is a favorite passage of mine

"Saw also a toy train big enough to pull children and a few adults. Would fain have had a ride on it, but I had no child with me, and feared that I might excit
Oct 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who like absurdities
Shelves: humour, fiction
This is a compiliation of 3 books by Samuel Marchbanks (Robertson Davies' alter ego - Davies actually wrote a column for a Toronto newspaper in the forties under this pseudonym), and edited by Roberson Davies: The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks, and The Letters of Samuel Marchbanks.

If you enjoy curmudgeonly observations of life, you'll love this. I feel like I know Marchbanks and would love to visit Marchbanks Towers for a glass of lemonade on the front porch so
Bill Peschel
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have dipped back into this book again and again. This is a collection of brief essays published in a Canadian newspaper probably back in the 1950s or so. I find them charming, low-key, humorous and reflective of the character of Samuel Marchbanks, who comes off as a bit crotchety fellow when confronted with the dim, unable to meet the demands of daily life (including wrestling with his coal-fired furnace). I love Davies' novels, but I found this book first in a second-hand bin and bought it on ...more
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, nonfiction, charm
Samuel Marchbanks, an alter ego of famed Canadian writer Davies, displays the full range of his wit, humor, curmudgeonliness, unreasonableness and charm in this collection of several earlier published books. Many people prefer Davies' novels; I like him in small snippets. This would be an ideal bed book if its size and weight weren't so hard on the wrists.
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny stuff. I read the 'Garland' in conjunction with 'Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack' since it is excerpt from that with editorial commentary. The 'Garland' makes better reading in the 'Almanack' following the Zodiac signs. :) I have to say that 'Diary' and 'Table Talk' had many more laugh out loud parts though.
Sherry Mackay
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
An oldie but a goodie. I have read this over and over and it is still delightful. I love the fiction that the author and the character are not the same I enjoy the insights into Canada of the 40s and 50s and I adore his curmudgeonly persona.
Frances Sawaya
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Laughed myself silly over this extensive collection of diary entries from Marchbanks, the alter ego of Davies. Many years ago when the author was at UCLA for a signing he read a few of these. Quite funny, probably due to fact that Davies had such strong theatrical experience.
Sep 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Read in my desperate effort to find more Robertson Davies to imbibe once his death made it obvious that there would be no more novels and trilogies, this collection of articles and columns he had written under his Samuel Marchbanks persona: cantankerous and funny, funny,funny!
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Fun bits on everything from Historical Novels to Snow Removal. Dry and funny. Probably not the place to start with Davies
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This has to be the funniest book I've ever read. Marchbanks is a riot!!!!!
Jack Coleman
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Hillarous commentary of on Canadian Life.
If this man doesn't make you laugh at least he will enrich your vocabulary.
Liz Lindsay
Jan 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lit, classic
Never finished it.
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is really funny stuff.
Jan 08, 2011 marked it as on-standby
RABCK from Dunzy.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-lit, fiction
One of my perennial re-reads. I like to take a nip or two from this book before bed. Not all of it has aged well, but overall, a fantastic read.
Oct 24, 2007 added it
Quite entertaining. Not the place to start with Davies, but very diverting reading (or browsing).
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William Robertson Davies, CC, FRSC, FRSL (died in Orangeville, Ontario) was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best-known and most popular authors, and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is sometimes said to have detested. Davies was the founding Master of Massey College, a graduate college at the University of Toro ...more
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“I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind... At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.” 33 likes
“All education is a struggle," said Marchbanks. "I had to struggle against schools and universities, of course, in order to get time to educate myself, which I did magnificently.” 0 likes
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