I know of only one novel in which Dr. Jung is a character. If there are any others, please do let me know.
PILGRIM is a novel written by Timothy Findley, a Canadian author, who died in 2004. Findley first sought his professional home on the stage at the Stratford Festival in Canada in the early 1960’s. It was not for at least another decade that he turned to writing novels.
Findley’s background was mostly “Family Compact”—Anglo-blue blood and Scottish. He grew up in my city of Toronto which, at the time, was dominated by the church and was very provincial in its attitudes. One of my favourite stories of Toronto is this–on Sundays Eatons, a very major department store, was careful to pull the drapes on all its show windows lest the citizenry be distracted by commercial endeavours when they should be in church, contemplating their sins.
The times in the 1940’s and 1950’s were not kind to a young man who happened to be homosexual. At that time, homosexual acts were criminalized and certainly regarded as a mental illness—if not an outright depravity.
Sadly, his father was very much a man of his times. He was extremely disappointed if not repulsed by his son. Consequently, Findley was crushed by this rejection and spent years of his adult life in Jungian psychotherapy. And so—the significance for Findley of PILGRIM.
Pilgrim is an English gentleman who cannot seem to die, despite numerous suicide attempts. After a recent suicide attempt, he is admitted to the Burgholzi in Switzerland under Dr. Jung’s care.
For Jung, it is a major battle to get his patient to utter even one word. But through other sources [mainly diaries and conversations with a few others], he learns that says he cannot die. Also, his patient recollects previous lives in which he always seems to be next to the very famous [or infamous] all the way from Michelangelo to Oscar Wilde. From there we are taken into a strange world in which time flows [mercilessly as Pilgrim feels] from one lifetime to another in an unending fashion. Pilgrim is certainly very weary!
For those of us with an interest in Jung’s work, this novel is a treasure. Findley creates a great scene in which he “discovers” the existence of the collective unconscious while in a bathroom with his patient who has just, once again, attempted suicide.
The MANTICORE is a novel written by another Canadian author, Robertson Davies, as part of the Deptford Trilogy. He writes in considerable detail about the main character, David Staunton, who is undergoing Jungian therapy. Through the conversations between patient and therapist the story is told. The man is trying to work his way out from underneath a particular kind of father who can destroy a son with a glance. Jung is not a character in the story but certainly Jungian thought permeates it and carries it forward. When I read both these novels, I could not help but think of what extreme damage can be done by fathers to sons.
Refecting back upon Jung’s words “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” I love the spirit behind the sentiment expressed and agree that should be our goal–to defeat that which afflicts us. However, I wonder how often that turns out to be the case? In these two novels, both in PILGRIM and THE MANTICORE, we see individuals for much of their lives being afflicted by grievous wrongs done to them. I suppose the novels are all about how they get out from under such tyranny. And that is where the story lies.
Great stuff! But does anyone else know of any other novels with Jung as a character or at least one which deals with Jungian thought? Please
leave me a note in the comment box if you do. Or make any other sort of comment as I love to hear from you.
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Presently, The Drawing Lesson is a Wattpad Featured novel which you can read in its entirety right here Wattpad.com