Jung, Alchemy and JosÉ Donoso’s Novel El Obsceno PÁjaro De La Noche

Author: Callan, Richard
This is the first comprehensive study of the novel El obsceno pájaro de la noche from the perspective of Jung’s analytical psychology. Callan explores how Donoso utilized Jung’s material to create his own literary version of that psychology. The novel is a structure of carefully connected multi-level images which originate in the disturbed psyche of the protagonist and are shown to depict the Jungian concept of Individuation. Callan demonstrates that the imagery derives from alchemy’s prima materia, Mercurius, solutio. Sulphur/quicksilver, retort, Sol/Luna, and more, together with alchemical references to mythology – all is original criticism on the novel. The documentation also includes substantive material from the Hebrew Cabala and the Hindu Upanishads, parallel fields referred to by Jung and incorporated by Donoso.


“Callan’s is the first to examine this novel extensively in terms of the figure of alchemy and in terms of Jungian archetypes. . . .Callan carefully introduces the methodological and interpretive outlines of his study, and then proceeds to analyze in detail the principal archetypical dimensions of the novel. The result is a useful and intriguing reading of the novel. . .” - David William Foster

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword; Reference System; Preface
1. Plot, Methodology, Psychoalchemical Framework
2. Humberto Peñaloza and Jerónimo Azcoitía: Two Aspects of One Person; Sulphur – Consciousness, Sun, Ego
3. Inés and Peta: Luna, Positive/Negative Unconscious; Don Clemente – Variant of Mercurius; Boy at Ronconada – Filius and Self in the Mandala of Eden
4. The Hopsital Ordeal and Emperatriz: the Alchemical Solutio or Psychic Dissolution: The Quaternity; The Circle; Museum of Anthropology – Prelude to Immersion in the Mandala; Dr. Azula – Mercurius and the Eucharist; The Hebrew Golem – Mudito as Alchemy’s Homunculus
5. Peta, Time, and Iris: The Timeless, Manifold Unconscious; The Giant – Esoteric Parallel of Mercurius; The 18th-Century Legend – Antiquity of the Unconscious; Mateluna’s Child – The filius philosophorum and the Self; The Casa – The Unconscious
6. Iris the Rainbow: A Herald for Conclusion of the Opus; Peñaloza and Faust – Alchemists
Bibliography; Index