Dan Davin (Daniel Davin) Biography
(1913–90), (Daniel Davin), Introduction to English Literature, Cliffs of Fall, For the Rest of Our lives
New Zealand novelist and short-story writer, born in Invercargill, New Zealand, educated at Otago University and at Balliol College, Oxford. After war service he joined the Oxford University Press and produced the Introduction to English Literature (1947) with John Mulgan. His novel Cliffs of Fall (1945) evoked memories of youth in New Zealand with a sense of isolation and conflict that is often present in Davin's work; For the Rest of Our lives (1947) directed wartime experiences in Africa to wider issues of meditative disenchantment which characterize much of Davin's work; Roads from Home (1949) was a fine working of personal experience. Davin edited New Zealand Short Stories and Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories in 1953, and his own interests and work in some ways echo those of Mansfield. In his stories, a finely wrought realism is undercut by a profound scepticism towards earthly pleasures, a scepticism which itself derives from a sharp awareness of mortality. Davin's lasting interest in the handling of war in fiction reflects this balance of interests. His story collections include Breathing Spaces (1975) and The Salamander and the Fire: Collected War Stories (1986). He edited Short Stories from the Second World War in 1982.