Response to Robertson Davies (and Carl Jung)

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

While contemplating the idea of writing a kind of response to Canadian author Robertson Davies' book called "The Manticore", the second volume of his Deptford Trilogy, I had a conversation with my (Jungian) therapist (okay, analyst, therapist isn't really the right term!) and he invited me to contribute a fictional story about Jungian analysis as a chapter in his upcoming book on the nature of the psychoanalytical relationship in Jungian analysis. So of course I said "Yes!"


So I am going to do both - and address the issue of the White Shadows via a new effort as well. I started working on the text, which is due by mid March, over the Christmas period, and, interestingly, the text emerged in French (the final version will be in French, but both my analyst and I had assumed initially that I would write in English and then translate it). I am still not very clear what form it will take .. I have written a little more than a page, but although I like the opening paragraphs I am already unhappy about the next ones and will likely strip them out and start over.


I looked up the Jungian analysis process, which according to one author is subdivided into three phases - (i) the anima/animus ; (ii) archetypes ; and (iii) shadows. So I am planning to use these as frames for the three parts of the fiction. I have also been re-reading "The Manticore", but this is a novel and hence has much larger scope, and it is also tied to the narrative of the Deptford Trilogy. I want a text that is less tied to a narrative, even though it may be grounded in one (my White Shadows Trilogy), although I can't fully articulate why this needs to be so. That is itself interesting - much of the time when I write, I have to follow "internal requirements" which sometimes cannot be clearly expressed. I imagine that is the case with many, perhaps even most writers.


I love the above image of Carl Jung, which I find to be a warmer image than many, in which he can look forbidding. And here's one of Robertson Davies as a younger man - most of the images on the net show him as he was elderly.




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