Books·Canadian

The Manticore

Robertson Davies' novel won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 1972.

Robertson Davies

The Manticore is a fascinating exploration, by an exquisite stylist, of those regions beyond reason where monsters live. David Staunton, the son of Percy Boyd Staunton, travels to Switzerland. Traumatized by his father's death and plagued by a lifetime of unhappiness, David undergoes Jungian analysis and repeatedly encounters a manticore — a monster with the head of a man, the body of lion and the tail of a scorpion.

The Manticore is the second novel in the critically acclaimedDeptford Trilogy, which also includes Fifth Business and World of Wonders. (From Penguin Canada)

The Manticore won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 1972.

Read an excerpt | Author interviews | More about this book

From the book

When did you decide you should come to Zürich, Mr Staunton?

"When I heard myself shouting in the theatre."

"You decided at that moment?"

"I think so. Of course I put myself through the usual examination afterward to be quite sure. But I could say that the decision was made as soon as I heard my own voice shouting."

"The usual examination? Could you tell me a little more about that, please."

"Certainly. I mean the sort of examination one always makes to determine the nature of anyone's conduct, his degree of responsibility, and all that. It was perfectly clear. I was no longer in command of my actions. Something had to be done and I must do it before others had to do it on my behalf."


From The Manticore by Robertson Davies ©1972. Published by Penguin Canada.

Author interviews

Robertson Davies, the Canadian novelist, critic, playwright, and journalist would have been 100 years old today (born 28 August 1913). Eleanor spoke with him in September of 1991. Here is that interview. 52:38
The grand old man of Canadian literature discusses Jungian psychology, religion and the film festival that is the afterlife. This clip was edited for copyright reasons. 43:31

More about this book

Literary great Robertson Davies reflects on being Canadian, writing and life at Massey College. 26:47