In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

498 LETTERS [N CANADA 1982 accomplishments. This Symposium, which as McMullen points out constitutes more of an initial appraisal than a reappraisal, has gone a long way in establishing directions that can fruitfully be followed in subsequent Wilson criticism. (HALLVARD DAHUE) Patricia Monk. The Smailer Infinity: The Jungian Self in the Novels of Robertson Davies University of Toronto Press. 214. $25.00 Patricia Monk's recent article on The Manticore (in Studies in Robertson Davies' Do/tford Trilogy, edited by Robert G. Lawrence and Samuel L. Macey) was so painstaking in its scholarship and so careful in its conclusions that I approached The Smaller Infinity hopeful of good things. But I was disappointed initially by the shaky method of the opening chapters and ultimately by the questionable nature of the entire enterprise . If Monk's objective were simply to give us a jungian interpretation of Shakespeare's Boy Actors (Robertson Davies's B. UTT thesis), of the columns published under the pseudonym Samuel Marchbanks, and of his first six novels, then there would be no problem. She knows her jung well and demonstrates the presence of patterns that can be seen in jungian terms thoroughly and convincingly. But this is not her objective. She wants to show that Davies moves through defined stages in a deliberate use ofjung's theory of individuation, reaching an apogee of commitment and complexity with Fifth Business, then drawing back in The Manticore and World of Wonders to question the validity of jungianism and to turn away to other systems. She begins by examining Davies's references to psychology between 1940 and 1958 in his reviews for Saturday Night (written 1940-2 and 19539 ) and finds Davies an enthusiastic Freudian until 1958 when his first review of works by and on jung appeared. She finds only two negative passing references to jung - one from 1941, the other from 1956 - and misses three positive references in 1956 and 1957 which reveal Davies assimilating successive volumes of the Bollingen jung. (Had she examined Davies's regular reviews for the Peterborough Examiner, 1942-53, and the three Stratford books published between 1953 and 1956, she would have found much more evidence of his preoccupation with Freud and neglect of jung until 1956.) Nonetheless, she then argues that 'although his conscious preference is for Freud, his soul is naturally jungian : pointing to similarities between Davies's and jung's attitudes toward folklore, myth, literature, magic, and romance. For her, Davies's discussion of role-playing in Shakespeare's Boy Actors (1939) is an exploration of the jungian persona. The creation of a fictional self in Samuel March- banks (whose diaries and correspondence appeared "943-53) is an encounter with Jung's shadow. In passing, Monk notes that, 'because of its general similarity to the more familiar Freudian concept of the id, the shadow is probably the most easily understood of the archetypes.' Here a serious consideration of the rival psychological approaches is called for (given Davies's overt interest in Freud), but Freud gets only a passing reference. Because she finds a Jungian interpretation of this early writing 'productive: Monk assumes that Davies was deliberately using Jung's ideas, and further that he conSCiously employed Jungian concepts in the Salterton novels. To support this view she draws on reviews and interviews where Davies speaks enthusiastically about Jungian theory. But, of course, all the quotations are drawn from 1958 or later. I again yearned for an argument concerning the relative merits of the theories of Freud and Jung as interpretive tools. Leaven of Malice, in particular, with its hilarious mistreatment of the Oedipus Complex, seems designed to spur the reader to examine the novel's key relationships from a Freudian perspective. In A Mixture of Frailties (1958) and Fifth Business (1970), Monk is right to present Davies as a committed Jungian. But the notion that Davies became more critical of Jungianism in the last two volumes of the Deptford trilogy is unconvincing. I find every stage of the argument that The Manticore (1972) is subversively critical of the process of Jungian psychoanalysis wrong-headed, and, since a thoroughgoing refutation is impossible here, I refer the reader to W.J. Keith...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 498-500
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.