Reading Again For the First Time

I have been rereading Robertson Davies’ Debtford Trilogy almost twenty years after I read it first, and it has proven to be a most singular experience.  Before I picked the trilogy up the second time, I could remember almost nothing about the books, just the barest outline of the plot and a nebulous sense of the narrator’s voice, so my rereading has been characterized by a strange sense of precognition after the fact.  I can rarely remember enough of the plot to predict what will happen next, but I always have a feeling of recognition as I am reading, as if I already knew what would happen, and there are occasions when I see what will come next with a startling clarity, an almost visionary experience.  It is reading as foretelling, as prophesy, and it is a most interesting literary sensation.

  1. Lauren said:

    I love that trilogy (well, except for the weird second book, which I really only like) in a way I love very few other books.

  2. Lauren,

    I remember enjoying them very much myself, which is why I am returning to them now. Though I am critical of much Canadian writing, particularly in recent years, because I feel that it is written to find publishers rather than to say anything useful, I rank Davies’ books very highly.

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