The IAJS runs a lively discussion list

UnknownThe IAJS runs a lively discussion list which as a member you receive via email. Recently (January 2013), conversation about Canadian Jungian inspired writers has been mentioned in regards to the required and recommended reading list of various university departments around the world. Below is a response from Darrel Dobson.

Ah Canada! I also live in those woods three hours north of Toronto and have had bears at the house pawing on the windows and annual sightings of moose in the yard. The Weather Network tells me it is -25% Celecius outside tonight.

In contemporary Canadian literature, the writers from our east coast are generating a lot of excitement, interest and respect. (Toronto and Ontario are central Canada, geographically). Our east coast has always been more impoverished and decidely more Celtic than the rest of Canada and is now experiencing an admirable cultural liveliness.

Alistair Macleod is my personal favorite. He is likely the best fiction writer of whom you have never heard! His novel No Great Mischief achieved great acclaim here (with its ringing final line “All of us are better when we are loved”), and his short stories are quite powerful.There are two small books of stories; one is The Lost Salt Gift of Blood; the other is As Birds Bring Forth the Sun. All the stories are collected in Island.To me, he has the subtle nuance, insight and power of Alice Munro though his subject matter tends to focus on stories of men. Like much of literature, his stories represent individuation journeys and his tend to focus on the felt and embodied sacrifices that men make in order to individuate — Jungians are more likely to know something I I tell my students, that life is not about the pursuit of happiness but rather the pursuit of integrity, and his stories embody and dramatize such stories. They are lovely.

I also highly recommend Michael Crummy: River Thieves. The Wreckage, and Galore.

Neither of these two are overtly Jungian.

Oh — if you are looking for (Canadian) literature that is decidely Jungian, you must include a fabulous play (an ‘exuberant comedy’) called Good NIght Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald, who is clearly well versed in Jung. The premise of the play is that the protaganist is a mousy academic, a perpetual PhD student unable to finish her PhD thesis on Shakespeare. Through fantastical means she is transported into the plays Othello and Romeo and Juliet, where she becomes a female trickster figure, intervening at the crucial moment in the stories and thus turning them from tragedies to comedies. The play is full of very clever twists on Shakespeare and very clever use of Jungian concepts (loads of alchemy and individuation) and very clever and effective dramatic staging and dialogue. It won the Govenor General Award for literature, which is our Booker or Pulitzer. Certainly anyone who is interested (professionally or personally) in Jung and literature should give it a look.

All my best,

Darrell Dobson, Ph.D.
President, Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies
Editor, Journal of Jungian Scholarly Studies.