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The Manticore by Robertson Davies

The Manticore (1972)

by Robertson Davies

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Deptford Trilogy (Book 2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,314248,935 (3.95)1 / 153
Recently added byjmbernstein, private library, geza.tatrallyay, Grant15, antoniomm67, jakebornheimer, Mocate, GregSmith216
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
  1. 00
    Regeneration by Pat Barker (Smiler69)
    Smiler69: Both works based on early 20th century psychological and psychiatric findings and research.
  2. 00
    Fifth Business by Robertson Davies (Smiler69)

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English (21)  Spanish (2)  Polish (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Probably my third (?) time through? First in a while. One of those books that I spend the whole middle thinking "Hmm, this is ok, 2, maybe 3 stars, at best". Then suddenly the ending pulls everything together so well. Still, I think less of it that I did when I first read it. Maybe it's a side effect of having studied psychology for 3-4 years since I last read it. During my first read I really loved the Jungian aspect, and now I have a different view on it. The more I read it, the more Davies I see in every character and turn of phrase. On a whole though, I appreciate the reticence and subtle mysticism with which Davies gives out concrete answers and revelations. ( )
  jakebornheimer | Mar 27, 2019 |
The second volume of Davies’ Deptford Trilogy, this book goes over some familiar events from a completely different viewpoint. The narrator is Boy Stanton’s son. He has a breakdown after Boy’s death and retreats to Switzerland where he undertakes a year of unusual Jungian Analysis.
Intriguing and weird. ( )
  bohemima | Aug 5, 2018 |
Although this is Book 2 in the Deptford Trilogy I read it last and I think I am glad I did. It's quite a different book from Fifth Business and World of Wonders both in setting and character. It is the story of Boy Staunton's son, David, when he went to a Jungian analyst in Switzerland after Boy Staunton's death. Fifth Business was mainly the story of Dunstan Ramsay, childhood friend of Boy Staunton. World of Wonders was the story of Paul Dempster, a child born in Deptford in circumstances involving Dunstan and Boy. So I expected this book to be the life story of Boy Staunton but instead it is his son who takes center stage. Of course, since it is the retelling of his experience in analysis there is quite a bit of discussion of Boy but it is from the point of view of a biased observer.

I recently read a book of Davies' speeches, The Merry Heart, so I knew he was very interested in Jungian psychotherapy. This book makes it pretty clear that Davies knew a lot about the field; in fact, I would have bet that he had undergone Jungian therapy himself but a blog I found online by Robert Moss quotes from a letter by Davies that says "I have never undergone one of those barnacle-scraping experiences, and knew of it only through reading." Having never undergone analysis myself I can't say that everything is portrayed accurately but it certainly seems to have a ring of truth to it. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jun 19, 2018 |
I struggled with this one, and I still do. Davies is a masterful writer, but the premise and the story that unfolds from it are both quite strange stuff—strange in a sense that made me fight the book instead of surrendering to it. Much of it is phrased as a patient's session with a psychoanalyst, and Davies doesn't make this more interesting than it usually is: half the time is spent debating the merits of the analysis itself, dreams are dissected, the patient falls in love with the doctor, and so on. There are great little moments here, but I guess the chief thing I'm feeling right now is that I'd still gladly recommend the precursor, 'Fifth Business', to anyone, and I wouldn't rush to recommend 'The Manticore'. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
I have of late felt lost in time, and reading Robertson Davies hasn't helped. This book is a troubling palimpsest for me. My high school years were always influenced by strains of Jungian theory, which is horrible in how appropriate it is. The primary English teacher was a fan of Jung and Davies and it played a particularly large role in the Grade 12 English course, particularly the much-anticipated day when the class would go through the "Jungian Journey" ("Imagine yourself in a forest..."). I heart about it in Grade 9, and defeated the efficacy by getting lead through it by a couple of Grade 12 girls. We were at the school after hours, I think the band had been out playing or fundraising or I think it was carolling in Chesley, we were having a potluck dinner in the Home Ec room, and it was a friend's older sister, the school president (which me and the friend would later become), and [b:Fifth Business|74406|Fifth Business|Robertson Davies|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1170852646s/74406.jpg|603433] was mentioned, and Jung, and symbols, and so on.

A few months later Erin was talking about Jung and synchronicity and how much that same English teacher liked the theory of it. Jung would always enter in this way, obliquely, always lurking there in the dark corners of my teenage education. Appropriate.

When I got to Grade 12 the English teacher was largely absent; we didn't read Fifth Business; I was in a bad way. I dropped the class with twelve days left and took it a second time the following year, where the class was what it was supposed to be, Fifth Business and all. Reading this book brought all these flashes of moments and years and feelings and more into a strange palimpsest. I'm glad I didn't spend more than 24 hours with it. I need to figure out a way to get back into my own time, but am oddly hopeful that such a ponderous book as this might be part of the way there. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Davis "is highly literate, intelligent man with a mystical and melodramatic imagination, and he conveys a sense of real life lived in a fully imagined sometimes mythical and magical world. Realists will probably be put off, but then they never even liked Jung. "
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, William Kennedy (Nov 12, 1972)
Second volet de la trilogie de Deptford, Le Manticore suppose, par conséquent, un joli tour de force. Autonome, cohérent à soi-même, ce livre peut être lu isolément, mais il dévoile à ceux qui commenceront par L'objet du scandale une puissante architecture, des lignes de fuites et des renvois qui font attendre avec impatience le Monde des merveilles, troisième et dernier volet de l'aventure d'un caillou de granite rose.
added by Ariane65 | editLa Croix, J.-M. de Montrémy
Ici l'on plonge dans un Canada des années trente, assez proche de celui de la reine Victoria. La quête des origines, le roman familial, les dénis interprétés offrent des récits - mi-psychanalyse, mi-journal - qui enchanteront ceux qui savent que l'amour ne peut se cacher mieux que la toux.
added by Ariane65 | editLa quinzaine littéraire, C. Descamps

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BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When did you decide you should come to Zurich, Mr. Staunton?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014303913X, Paperback)

Hailed by the Washington Post Book World as "a modern classic," Robertson Davies’s acclaimed Deptford Trilogy is a glittering, fantastical, cunningly contrived series of novels, around which a mysterious death is woven. The Manticore—the second book in the series after Fifth Business—follows David Staunton, a man pleased with his success but haunted by his relationship with his larger-than-life father. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Luring the reader down labyrinthine tunnels of myth, history and magic, 'The Deptford Trilogy' provides an exhilarating antidote to a world from where 'the fear and dread and splendour of wonder have been banished'.

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