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The Manticore (Deptford Trilogy) [Robertson Davies, Michael Dirda] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Hailed by the Washington Post Book. The Manticore [Robertson Davies] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Fiction. Hailed by the Washington Post Book World as ‘a modern classic,’ Robertson Davies’s acclaimed Deptford Trilogy is a glittering, fantastical, cunningly contrived .

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The Manticore by Robertson Davies – Reading Guide – : Books

Preview — The Manticore by Robertson Davies. The Manticore —the second book in the series after Fifth Business —follows David Staunton, a robertskn pleased with his success but haunted by his relationship with his larger-than-life roberteon. As he seeks help through therapy, he encounters a wonderful cast of characters who help connect him to his past and the death of his father. Paperbackpages. Published February 28th by Penguin Classics first published The Deptford Trilogy 2.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Manticlre Manticoreplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Jul 11, BlackOxford rated it really liked it Shelves: Manticore will therefore appeal to Platonists as myself who recognise the limits of language but also its necessity in figuring out what we are.

Aristotelian scientific types are likely to be disappointed. Freud thought in terms of flaws in robrrtson psyche brought about through trauma, Jung in terms of psychic purpose and its adaptations.

There is no rational way to choose between the two perspectives; the facts fit either.

Aesthetically, however, Jung takes mantixore upper hand; and Davies knows why: Understanding this basic principle makes life interesting as well as bearable. We are all full of foreigners, alien psychic beings, vying for attention and supremacy. The more we reject their presence, the more power they exert. A possible lesson here for Trump in his policy formulation as well as in his personal life? View all 21 comments. Apr 09, Kalliope rated it really liked it Shelves: If the first volume of this trilogy had me dreaming about saints view spoiler [ https: This time it appeared in the guise of psychoanalysis.

Thank god, or thanks the saints?

The world of conjurors and miracles and tricks of the hat has gi If the first volume of this trilogy had me dreaming about saints view spoiler [ https: The world of conjurors and miracles and tricks of the hat has given way to the universe of Jungian Archetypes. This made the novel suffer somewhat, however.

Robertson no longer seemed the magician with his words, but instead an apprentice trying to emulate, explain, elucidate, apply, explore, a set of theories that are not his. The artistic dimension of this bright cosmology added hues to my reading of the Manticore, the Persian beast.

Amnticore the Red Book will still haunt me.

View all 8 comments. May 18, Panagiotis rated it really liked it. I wavered between demoting this to a 3 star really 3. We were first given an account of the small town of Deptford, and the players who would be the major cast of characters in the series, in Fifth Business under the guiding hand of Dunstan Ramsay. Now we see things from a different angle: David Staunton, the hard drinking criminal lawyer I wavered between demoting this to a 3 star really 3.


His father has just been found dead, possibly murdered, and this is the last straw of the many pressures on his life. From here we get his account of not only his own life but the lives of his father and Dunstan Ramsay amongst others as they intersected with his.

The Manticore (The Deptford Trilogy, #2) by Robertson Davies

I think I prefer when his Jungian obsessions come in through the side door as it were, and this blatant explication of the Jungian method was perhaps a tad on the heavy-handed side. David is also no Dunstan Ramsay. Ramsay was certainly not always sympathetic, but David is downright unpleasant: He is, it must be said, unwaveringly honest with others and himself and certainly he grows, as is the point of psychoanalysis, so he is far from an uninteresting character.

Ramsay is amusingly portrayed as the somewhat eccentric schoolmaster as seen by a child who may also share a deeper relationship with the child than either of them would want to admit. It is often a pleasure of serial works to be able to see the same characters and situations detailed in another work from a different perspective and that pleasure is on full display here.

Characters from Deptford, both major and minor, are portrayed either with more or less detail than before, but certainly show other sides of themselves than we had previously been privy to.

The Manticore

dagies They in cavies become more fully human, not to mention subtly transformed, from their first appearance to us. I must admit that I by far enjoyed the final section of the book the most where we encounter old friends and some resolutions to outstanding questions are provided. Also posted at Shelf Inflicted View all 14 comments.

Like Fifth Business before, this novel contains amazing prose and a caste of characters that are not quite loveable, but amazingly human at the same time.

The structure of the novel is largely a diary David Staunton keeps while undergoing Jungian analysis after the suicide of his billionaire father. This flashback analysis allows Davies to deal with an unreliable narrator by having the Jungian therapist Johanna Von Haller jump in occasionally to explain, uproot, twist, roberfson interject architypes into the unrolling life of David Staunton, his relationship with his father, nurse, mother, sister, and early love.

It also allows Davies to explore issues around the subconcious, Jungian architypes, myth, history, etc. The third and final chapter of the novel exits the diary and brings in some of the characters from the series Dunstan Ramsey, Liesl, and Magnus Eisengrim. I didn’t quite like it as much as Fifth Business, but still adored it. I understand I think where Davies was going with the final act, but I’m not quite sure he squared the knot.

Perhaps, it left a lot unsaid because, obviously, there is one more book. So, for now I’ll tenatively leave it as 4-stars, but perhaps that will increase as I finish the trilogy.

The Manticore begins by betraying us. Dunstan Ramsay, that incorrigible saint-chasing old man who provided the heart and soul and voice of Fifth Businessis no longer our narrator. At eobertson end of Fifth BusinessBoy dies, and now David has gone to Zurich seeking the wisdom of a Jungian analyst to make sense of his behaviour since his father’s death.

Partly an exploration of the psychology of Jung a The Manticore begins by betraying us. Partly an exploration of the psychology of Jung and partly a work of biographical fiction akin to Fifth BusinessThe Manticore is a journey into David’s past and into his psyche.

The analysis is both more rbertson less than a framing device. It allows Davies to depart from some of the entrenched conventions of the modern novel, rendering David’s narration in the form of journal-like entries interspersed with script-like dialogue between himself and Dr.


The events intersect tangentially with those of Fifth Businessproviding at times a different perspective on characters familiar from the first book. Probably the most interesting differences are David’s thoughts on Ramsay himself, of course, as well as how David perceives his father’s character. However, this is not just a retelling of Fifth Business ; after all, David was a minor player in that book, barely on the reader’s radar and notable only, really, because he happens to be Boy’s son.

The Manticore gives David rohertson own history, fleshing him out as a person, and also gives him his own voice, one quite distinct from Ramsay’s.

Though this is the “Deptford trilogy,” the return to Deptford in this book is brief and not all that notable. Indeed, places and locations are much less prominent in The Manticore than they were in Fifth Business. I’ll hazard that this is because David, telling this in the form of his analytic journey, is focusing on the people of his past, not the places. The characters, though always at arms-length from us, are much more important than where they are or what they’re doing.

And in this case, because we are interested in learning how David projects his own thoughts and feelings onto other people, the somewhat surreal quality of the other characters is not a problem but an advantage. This is one of the few times where a character is actually allowed to be an archetype rather than a three-dimensional person.

As von Haller guides David through his analysis, she points out how the people in his life have assumed various aspects within his conscious and unconscious mind. His sister, Caroline; Netty; his mother, Leola; his stepmother, Denyse; and his first and only love, Judith, have all at times carried the role of the Anima.

The characters in The Manticore morph from people into Jungian archetypes before our very eyes. I’m hesitant to comment on how Davies incorporates Jung, because all I’ve learned about Jungian philosophy has been through the Deptford trilogy.

So it’s entirely possible Davies has gotten something wrong. With that caveat in mind, however, I quite enjoy the Deptford trilogy as a vehicle for Jungian philosophy.

I imagine alone the subject might be rather dry, whereas this is a kind of “case study” that provides more suitable material. Davies also includes a subtle tension between Jungian and Freudian methodologies: If The Manticore were written using Freudian analysis instead, this would likely be the centrepiece of the entire book. And while David’s sexual life is important to understanding him, it’s only one part of the puzzle.

I have to admit that I find Jung’s psychology more appealing than Freud’s, as much as I find any psychology appealing which is not very. I mean, it asks us to look at the people in our lives in terms of archetypes and deconstruct how we project our desires upon them, interpreting them to fit into roles we define.

This is very literary way of viewing the world, and hence appeals to me, a lover of literature. Archetypes are always very mythological, which recalls Ramsay’s syncretism of history and myth and his obsession with saints. Just as, in Ramsay’s view, history consists of repeating patterns of myth, each person’s life consists of repeating patterns of archetypes, as we project these archetypes onto our new acquaintances.