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By John Updike
The Centaur is a latest retelling of the legend of Chiron, the noblest and wisest of the centaurs, who, painfully wounded but not able to die, gave up his immortality on behalf of Prometheus. within the retelling, Olympus turns into small-town Olinger highschool; Chiron is George Caldwell, a technological know-how instructor there; and Prometheus is Caldwell's fifteen-year-old son, Peter. Brilliantly conflating the author's remembered earlier with stories from Greek mythology, John Updike interprets Chiron's agonized look for reduction into the incidents and injuries of 3 iciness days spent in rural Pennsylvania in 1947. the end result, stated the judges of the nationwide booklet Award, is "a brave and incredible account of a clash in presents among an inarticulate American father and his hugely articulate son."
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Extra resources for The Centaur
262. (Oig. ) s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, III: "The Transformations of Puberty" (translated by James Strachey, Standard Edition, VII; London: The Hogarth Press, 1953), p. 208. (Orig. ) : 'Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 981-983. It has been pointed out that the father also can be experienced as a protector and the mother, then, as a temptress. This is the way from Oedipus to Hamlet. "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that 1 have bad dreams" (Hamlet II.
I have been separated from my wife for a year; somehow, we could not get along together. I love both my parents dearly, and have never had any trouble with my father, except that he insisted that I go back and live with my wife, and I couldn't be happy with her. "1 The unsuccessful husband here reveals, with a really wonderful innocence, that instead of bringing his spiritual energies forward to the love and problems of his marriage, he has been resting, in the secret recesses of his imagination, with the now ridiculously anachronistic dramatic situation of his first and only emotional involvement, that of the tragicomic triangle of the nursery—the son against the father for the love of the mother.
As Dr. Jung points out (Psychology and Religion, par. 89), the theory of the archetypes is by no means his own invention. Compare Nietzsche; "In our sleep and in our dreairis we pa^s tlivnu^'li the whole thought of earlier humanity. I mean, in the same way that man reasons in his dreams, he 16 reasoned when in the w aking state many thousands of \ cars. . The dream carries us back into earlier states of human culture, and affords us a means of understanding h better'1 (Friedrich Nietzsche, Human all too Human, Vol.