The Rebel Angels Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Rebel Angels

The questions asked in this review engine do not begin to do justice to what's going on in this book. For starters, there are two protagonists, the grad student Maria Cornish, in love with her deep and inscrutible professor, Clement Hollier, and Prof. the Rev. Simon Darcourt, writing "The New Aubrey" about the University at Toronto and in love with Maria.
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This book is an enlarging and engaging marvel, from its discourses on Paracelsus and the nature of health and identity to its excurses on identity and Rabelais, on the history of belief, on academic hubris and perfidy, and on pride and authorship, to its tale of how Maria comes to choose banker Arthur Cornish, a "priest of money" who proves to be also a man of musical and artistic taste, as her life's partner and husband.

That's not the spoiler it seems; one does not read this book to be surprised but rather to ponder the ideas its characters encounter in their lives and their readings. It ends like all good comedies end; it proceeds in a manner both picaresque and poingant.

Just go read it already! And finish the Cornish Trilogy (THE REBEL ANGELS, WHAT'S BRED IN THE BONE, and THE LYRE OF ORPHEUS) to boot.
The review of this Book prepared by Kate Sherrod

In the first book of the Cornish Trilogy, Davies introduces many characters, all in some way associated with a Canadian university. In a plot entirely too involved to describe - it involves, just as a sample, a suicide, a lost Parcelsus manuscript, gypsies, defrocked monks, love of several different kinds, and some rather unsavory academic research - Davies both lampoons academia and shows his love for it and for the wisdom it produces. This book is astoundingly funny, fun, and fascinating - a masterpiece.
The review of this Book prepared by Ivy

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Chapter Analysis of The Rebel Angels

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book)    -   nature of existence (heavy philosophy) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Lover is    -   much younger/older Pearls of wisdom from homeless?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Eastern European


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada City?    -   Yes City:    -   wealthy Misc setting    -   scientific labs

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   two guys doing it Weird Victorian/Shakespearean English?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Robertson Davies Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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