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‘Adieu Sagesse’, or Troubled Identities in Du Maurier's Fiction

“Soaring Towards the Sun”: The Icarus Complex in Daphne Du Maurier’s The Flight of the Falcon

« L’envol vers le soleil » : le complexe d’Icare dans The Flight of the Falcon de Daphne du Maurier
Helena Habibi

Résumés

Les hommes-oiseaux, fatalement contraints à s’envoler vers le soleil, hantent les romans et les nouvelles de Daphne du Maurier. Son remaniement incessant du mythe d’Icare trouve son apogée dans le roman tardif qu’est The Flight of the Falcon (1965) où Aldo Donati, ayant revêtu des ailes de Dédale, fait une chute mortelle après avoir volé, « comme Icare, […] trop près du soleil ». En outre, la caractérisation des frères Donati reflète, avec une étrange précision, des éléments de la symbologie jungienne ainsi que le « complexe d’Icare », identifié pour la première fois par le psychologue Henry A. Murray. Le présent article examine ce roman relativement négligé par la critique en tant que transformation narrative du mythe classique d’Icare et à la lumière des théories psychanalytiques qu’il a inspirées. Ce faisant, cet article cherche à dissiper l’inquiétude exprimée par du Maurier elle-même à propos d’un roman dont elle craignait que puisse rester incomprise la « motivation profondément inconsciente » à l’origine des actions macabres de son séduisant protagoniste, grand imitateur des oiseaux, et de son frère Armino.

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  • 1 Daphne Du Maurier, Jamaica Inn, London: Virago, 2015, 292.
  • 2 Daphne Du Maurier, The Breaking Point: Short Stories, London: Virago, 2009, 108.
  • 3 Ibid., 147. In “The Pool”, “Deborah thought of Icarus, soaring towards the sun. Did he know when h (...)
  • 4 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, London: Virago, 2006, 304.
  • 5 Richard Kelly, Daphne Du Maurier, Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1987, 130.
  • 6 Nina Auerbach, Daphne Du Maurier: Haunted Heiress, Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2000, 65.
  • 7 Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik, “Glimpses of the Dark Side”, in Helen Taylor (ed.), The Daphne Du Mau (...)
  • 8 Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik, Daphne Du Maurier: Writing, Identity and the Gothic Imagination, Basi (...)
  • 9 Richard Kelly, op. cit., 113.
  • 10 Melanie Jane Heeley, Resurrection, Renaissance, Rebirth: Religion, Psychology and Politics in the (...)

1Icarus-like bird-men, compelled fatefully to soar sunward, haunt the Du Maurier corpus. The hawk-like Vicar of Altarnun in Jamaica Inn (1936) “flung out his arms as a bird throws his wings for flight, and drooped suddenly and fell.”1 In The King’s General (1946), Richard Grenvile’s bird of prey enacts an Icarian ascent and fall during a doomed hawking escapade. After developing wings, the narrator of “Ganymede” (1959) recounts “soaring above the earth”2 and the protagonist of “The Pool” (1959) “thought of Icarus, soaring towards the sun.”3 This incessant reworking of the myth of Icarus finds its climax in The Flight of the Falcon (1965), in which the protagonist, Aldo Donati, dons Daedalus-like wings, then, like Icarus, flies “too near the sun”4 before plummeting to his death. This Icarian persistence in Du Maurier’s fiction has yet to be investigated by critics, although the following critical allusions intuit its importance: Richard Kelly’s recognition that the protagonist of “Ganymede” is “guilty of hubris, an arrogant pride” speaks to the tale’s Icarian resonances;5 Nina Auerbach inadvertently hints at the Icarian sonority of “Ganymede” in its concern with a “trembling on the brink of visionary transformation”;6 A. D. Cousins notes the presence of Ovidian transformation in “Ganymede” without acknowledging its Icarian nature; and Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik foreground the avian transformation of the macabre couple in “The Old Man”, but they connect it to “the classic Oedipal drama”7 rather the mythical Icarus. Horner and Zlosnik do notice that, in Jamaica Inn, the vicar of Altarnun’s death is “Icarus-like.”8 With regards to The Flight of the Falcon, Kelly recognises that, “like Jesus, Lucifer, and Icarus, [Aldo] challenges the status quo and is forced to suffer for his daring”9 and Melanie Jane Heeley determines that Aldo “represents all the daring flyers of Greek myth from “Icarus” […] to Phaeton.”10

  • 11 For evidence of Du Maurier’s broader interest in Graeco-Roman myth, see her essay, “Romantic Love” (...)
  • 12 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly: Portrait of a Friendship, ed. Oriel Malet, New York: M. (...)
  • 13 Ivan Magee was a fan of Du Maurier’s fiction who had initially written to her with questions about (...)
  • 14 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly, op. cit., 33, 39, 141.
  • 15 Ibid., 33.
  • 16 Ibid., 39.
  • 17 Ibid., x.
  • 18 Ibid., 141. This letter is dated 9 November 1962. Her first mention of “brewing” the novel that be (...)

2In addition to bearing witness to Du Maurier’s interest in Graeco-Roman myth, The Flight of the Falcon is a culmination of a decade of research into Jungian psychoanalytic theory.11 Du Maurier admits, in a letter to her friend Oriel Malet, to “reading so many psycho books lately” and to being “surrounded by […] books on gods, and books on psychology.”12 In a series of letters to her pen friend, Ivan Magee, dated between 1960 and 1963, Du Maurier reveals her interest in, and intimate knowledge of, Jungian psychoanalysis.13 Further letters to Malet reveal a long-standing interest in Jungian psychology in the years leading up to her conception of The Flight of the Falcon.14 In them, Du Maurier discusses aspects of Jungian theory pertinent to the themes of The Flight of the Falcon, like the significance of her fondness for mountains and climbing in relation to Jungian dream analysis15 or his notion of the collective unconscious as a possible “case for reincarnation.”16 Moreover, four months before she embarked on “brewing”17 the novel, Du Maurier asserted a degree of expertise in Jung’s work when she referred to “a whole lot […] I knew so well from Jung, and all his volumes, which you know I have been collecting for years.”18 Evidently, Du Maurier was ruminating these ideas during her conception of The Flight of the Falcon.

  • 19 Ibid., 167.
  • 20 The following are exceptions: Horner and Zlosnik dedicate a thirteen-page section to The Flight of (...)
  • 21 Du Maurier predicted that The Flight of the Falcon would be misunderstood; she lamented that her pu (...)

3Du Maurier’s tantalising insinuation, in a letter to Malet, of “deep unconscious motive[s]”19 underlying the characterisation of her Icarian protagonists has yet to be fully investigated by critics. In this article, I argue that The Flight of the Falcon, Du Maurier’s critically neglected novel, is a richly symbolic and sophisticated work of fiction, weaving a complex tapestry of mythic and psychoanalytic threads.20 I read the novel as a narrative transformation of the classical myth of Icarus and a manifestation of the Jungian psychoanalytic theories it inspired. In doing so, I seek to dispel Du Maurier’s own anxieties that meanings and depth in this work would remain overlooked, and thereby demonstrate that her later fiction is of greater value and complexity than critics have thus far acknowledged.21

Icarus Complex

  • 22 “Some of the[se] symbols […] derive from what Dr. Jung has called “the collective unconscious” – t (...)
  • 23 Carl Gustav Jung (ed.), Man and His Symbols, New York: Random House, 1964, 38.
  • 24 Ibid., 113.
  • 25 Ibid., 146-156.
  • 26 Ibid., 147.
  • 27 Ibid., 155-156.

4In the posthumously published Man and His Symbols (1964), which appeared in the midst of Du Maurier’s writing of The Flight of the Falcon, Carl Gustav Jung explores the enduring presence, in what he terms the “collective unconscious”, of numerous symbolic themes.22 These include three prevailing motifs: a craving for immortality that finds expression in the Christian concept of resurrection; ascensionism and precipitation, often manifest in the “common dream of flying”,23 of finding oneself “on a platform from which [one has] to descend”;24 and the prevalence of the bird as a symbol of transcendence,25 to which Jung devotes much of his thesis. He posits that these symbolic strands are encapsulated by the bird as “the most fitting symbol of transcendence [with evidence of its use going] as far back as the paleolithic period of prehistory.”26 He goes on to chart subsequent manifestations of this unconscious avian compulsion in the winged protagonists of classical myth, such as Icarus, and recognises man-made flying machines, such as planes and spaceships, as embodying the same transcendent principal.27 All three of these Jungian themes find expression in The Flight of the Falcon.

  • 28 See, in particular, the following images: “Scalette di Santa Margherita”, Italia Artistica No. 6: U (...)
  • 29 Daphne Du Maurier, Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 58.

5Du Maurier’s research material held in the Exeter Archives relating to Urbino, the inspiration for Ruffano in which the novel is set, reveals that these Jungian symbols are central to the identity of the city and its inhabitants. These symbols are subsequently developed as crucial elements in Du Maurier’s imaginative construction of Ruffano and the psychological development of her protagonists. Urbino, as the images collected by Du Maurier testify, showcases a dramatic undulating topography.28 With its steep steps, rising hills, tall towers, spiral staircases, and art treasures depicting an ascending, reborn Christ, this Italian city could not be a more fitting expression of Jungian ascensionism, precipitation, and craving for immortality. The bird also figures as an important symbol of Urbino. Like its fifteenth-century Duke, Federigo da Montefeltro, Du Maurier’s city of Ruffano’s emblem “had for design the Malabranche Falcon.”29 These images of Urbino, found in Du Maurier’s Flight of the Falcon research papers, correspond with her imaginative use of these three aspects of Jungian symbology in her novel.

6Jung’s preoccupation with bird imagery, including that of Icarus, also finds a remarkable parallel to the life of Aldo in the novel. Jung observes that,

  • 30 Carl Gustav Jung, Man and His Symbols, op. cit., 101.

over and over again, one hears a tale describing a hero’s miraculous but humble birth, his early proof of superhuman strength, his rapid rise to prominence or power, his triumphant struggle with the forces of evil, his fallibility to the sin of pride [or] (hybris), and his fall through […] a “heroic” sacrifice that ends in his death.30

  • 31 Ibid., 112-113.

7This, according to Jung, “is the meaning of the story of Icarus”;31 it is also the fate of Aldo Donati.

  • 32 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly, op. cit., 48.
  • 33 Murray’s life and work were intimately bound and influenced by Jung’s. An interview with Murray, co (...)
  • 34 Henry A. Murray, “American Icarus”, in Arthur Burton & Robert E. Harris (eds.), Clinical Studies of (...)

8Du Maurier’s presentation of the novel’s Donati brothers, Aldo and Armino, reflects, with uncanny accuracy, the components of the personality theory known as the Icarus complex first identified by the prominent psychologist, and associate of Jung, Henry A. Murray. The publication of Murray’s theory in 1955 coincides with the period during which Du Maurier was reading “so many psycho books”32 and the myth of Icarus is a significant motif across both Jung’s and Murray’s bodies of work. Whilst Du Maurier does not explicitly mention Murray, her fervent interest in Jung’s work – as well as the field of psychoanalysis and psychology more broadly – might well have led her to an encounter with Jung’s associate’s personality theory in some form. The proximity between Murray and Jung, and their shared interest in Icarian theories of the unconscious make this highly plausible.33 Murray’s Icarus complex is characterised by the following six Jungian components: “ascensionism” combined with feelings of “falling [and] precipitation”; “cynosural narcissism”; a “craving for immortality”; an abundance of fire and water imagery; and “depreciation” of women often manifest in matricidal fantasy.34

9To illustrate the extent of The Flight of the Falcon’s Icarian nature, I will examine some of the abounding examples in the novel that conform to the six interconnecting elements of Jung’s and Murray’s theories aforementioned. Underpinning these elements is the persistent presence of bird imagery, which culminates in Aldo’s Icarian flight at the end of the novel.

  • 35 Ibid., 616.
  • 36 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 106.
  • 37 Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, “Letters to Ivan Magee”, letter dated “ (...)

10Like Armino in the novel, these tendencies are “exhibited in [the Icarian subject’s] dreams” – as we shall see in Armino’s dream-like return to his birth-city – and “come all the way from childhood in their present shapes.”35 Murray’s illustrative case study of an Icarian subject named Grope abounds with astonishing parallels with the brothers in The Flight of the Falcon who, between them, manifest all of the elements of Murray’s complex. Coinciding with Jung’s notion of the archetypal twins, Aldo and Armino together thus form a fully realised Icarian subject. In Jungian terms, the brothers “together constitute a whole person. […] they belong together, and it is necessary – though exceedingly difficult – to reunite them. In these two children we see the two sides of man’s nature.”36 In one of her many letters to Magee discussing Jungian subjectivity, Du Maurier surmises that “Jung’s theory is that […] we consist of Opposites […] and only attain harmony and peace of mind when the two opposites are in balance.”37 Notions of harmonising disparate aspects of the subject were clearly percolating in the period during which Du Maurier began “brewing” The Flight of the Falcon.

11Armino, the novel’s first-person narrator, is a disenchanted tour guide. After failing to identify the body of a murdered woman as his childhood nurse, Marta, he is compelled to return to the city of Ruffano in which he grew up, both to alleviate growing paranoia that the police will pursue him and charge him with her murder, and to atone in some way for the guilt he harbours for abandoning her. On his return to Ruffano, Armino enters into dream-like reminiscences and recalls the fifteenth-century inhabitants, the brothers, Dukes Claudio and Carlo. He also begins to unravel the story of his own past, which is dominated by memories of his overbearing, charismatic older brother, presumed killed in action as an Air Force pilot. Armino is shocked when confronted with the living Aldo, who has re-established himself in Ruffano as the highly respected head of the city’s Arts Council. It transpires that Aldo is directing the city’s annual festival, titled “The Flight of the Falcon”, an intricate performance that re-enacts the dangerous Icarian flying feat of the ruthless Duke Claudio, himself known as the Falcon. Armino is simultaneously repelled and compelled by his brother’s mesmerising power over the population of Ruffano, compounded by Aldo’s determination to play the role of the Falcon in the festival – the novel’s shocking Icarian finale.

Ascensionism and Precipitation

  • 38 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 631.

12Resonating strongly with Du Maurier’s novel, Murray’s notion of ascensionism includes “the wish to overcome gravity […] to leap or swing in the air, to climb, to rise, to fly or to float down gradually from on high and land without injury […] rising from the dead and ascending to heaven.”38 Murray also includes:

  • 39 Used in the field of psychology, “cathex” refers to “the concentration or accumulation of mental e (...)
  • 40 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 631.

emotional and ideational forms of ascensionism – passionate enthusiasm, rapid elevations of confidence, flights of the imagination, […] ecstatic mystical up-reachings, poetical and religious – which are likely to be expressed in the imagery of physical ascensionism. The upward thrust of desire may also manifest itself in the cathection39 of tall pillars and towers, of high peaks and mountains, of birds – high-flying hawks and eagles – and of the heavenly bodies, especially the sun. In its most mundane and secular form, ascensionism consists of a craving for upward social mobility, for a rapid and spectacular rise of prestige.40

  • 41 Ibid., 635.
  • 42 Ibid., 629.
  • 43 Ibid., 621.
  • 44 Ibid., 624.
  • 45 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 35, 83, 303.
  • 46 Ibid., 303.

13Conversely, precipitation refers to “a consciously or unconsciously desired calamitous descension in which the [subject] allows himself to fall or leap from a height”, also referred to as “precipitative suicide.”41 Murray’s case subject, Grope, “a self-propelled sky flier”,42 enjoyed building model airplanes as a child.43 As an adult, his intention is “to enlist in the Air Corps and become a pilot.”44 With no less than eight references in the novel to Aldo’s “pilot’s wings”,45 earned “during the war [when] he served in the Air Force”,46 it is clear that Du Maurier is keen to impress upon the reader a sense of his marked propensity for doomed airborne feats even before he conceives of his suicidal, “self-propelled” winged escapade as the Falcon.

  • 47 Ibid., 14.
  • 48 Ibid., 14.
  • 49 Ibid., 39.

14Furthermore, Aldo’s childhood fascination with the “dangerous twisting staircase of the tower”,47 which Armino laments “he would force me to climb with him”,48 bears witness to an Icarian fascination with elevation and descension. The recurring image of the spiral steps is inextricable from the image of the bird. Armino recalls: “I followed now, up the grand staircase to the gallery above, while in every niche and vault stood the Malabranche falcon.”49 Similarly, Armino, recounts:

  • 50 Ibid., 42.

before me was the stair, curving ever upward to the tower above, below me the descent, three hundred steps or more, the abyss below […]. The old fear, the old fascination gripped me. I put my hand upon the cold stone step, preparatory to climbing.50

  • 51 Ibid., 30.
  • 52 Ibid., 30.

15This psychological rising and falling compulsion pervades the novel and finds further expression in the undulating topography that dominates it. As Ruffano looms ahead, “some five hundred metres high”51 – a suitable homecoming for an Icarian – Armino’s impressions combine a sense of height and precipitation: “ahead the mountains […] snowflakes fell […] we came up from the south; they must have been falling all day.”52 Mirroring Armino’s childhood remembrances of his brother, Ruffano emerges as a nightmare juxtaposition of twisting heights and dizzying descents. As Armino recalls:

  • 53 Ibid., 30.

snow banked the road as it curved upward, lay thick upon the roof-tops, made phantoms of the trees, and, crown[ed] the minarets of the twin towers […] and campanile beyond.53

  • 54 Ibid., 635.

16His Icarian propensity for precipitation is further played out when he witnesses the Murrayesque “calamitous descension”54 of a young man:

I heard the sound of running. Someone was coming down the steps towards me, but in headlong flight. The descent was steep, and to run at speed was to court disaster.

“Watch out,” I called, “you’ll fall.”

  • 55 Ibid., 69-70.

The running figure emerged from the darkness, stumbled, and I put out an arm to break the fall.55

  • 56 Amendment on “Typescript of The Flight of the Falcon (1965)”, 113-14. EUL MS 144/1/13, Special Coll (...)

17This occurrence is not unlike Armino’s own movements around the city and foreshadows his later inability to break his bird-brother’s fall at the end of the novel. A telling omission in Du Maurier’s typescript reveals an earlier intention to further impress this sense of precipitation: the phrase “down to the further flight of steps descending” is deleted.56 This is one of many edits made throughout the typescript relating to the imagery of undulation, suggesting its centrality to Du Maurier’s conception of the psychological fabric of the novel.

  • 57 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 35.
  • 58 Ibid., 264.
  • 59 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 619.
  • 60 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 260.
  • 61 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 632.
  • 62 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 291.
  • 63 Ibid., 297.

18This obsession with ascensionism and precipitation, which permeates Armino’s boyhood reminiscences about jumping off walls that he “always thought so high” before “descending abruptly”,57 forms a remarkable parallel to Grope’s “self-propelled flights and of jumping off a high place and floating gracefully and gently to the ground.”58 Murray’s Icarian subject’s childhood memory of “a toy auto he enjoyed until the day he sat his little brother in it and sent it rolling down a hill”59 becomes the dangerous chariot ride that Aldo and Armino perform at the commencement of the festival. Armino recalls allowing his older brother to “bind him to the chariot”,60 which mirrors Grope’s “many dreams and daydreams of rising in the air and flying […] in a horse-drawn chariot.”61 Aldo and Armino’s horse-drawn escapade, which leads them to the twisting staircase of the ducal palace from which Aldo will enact his Icarian bird flight, is cheered on by the crowd who “clapped like the fluttering of innumerable wings.”62 The rising and falling imagery relating to this scene is remarkably dense and pervasive. As Armino climbs the winding staircase after Aldo (“up, up, forever up”), he recalls “the sickness of vertigo” which accompanies his realisation “that the tower was forever out of reach, like the pit below. There was nothing left within me but the urge to climb, and sliding, stumbling, I swung between heaven and hell.”63

  • 64 Ibid., 292.
  • 65 Ibid., 292.
  • 66 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 635.

19Armino’s vertiginous nightmare culminates in a fall “like the descent to hell”64 during which his sense of terror becomes unbearable: “I had reached the peak of fear.”65 This striking resemblance to Murray’s conception of the Icarian “ascension-descension cycle on all levels” reveals that “the question of falling or not falling”66 is as central to Du Maurier’s novel as it is to Murray’s Icarus complex. This leads one to wonder whether Du Maurier consciously used the Grope case in support of her protagonists’ psychology and related imagery, or whether she conceived of her novel as illustrative of that case.

Cynosural Narcissism and a Craving for Immortality

20Aldo’s conceptions of himself as various powerful figures who embody ascensionist and precipitative compulsions – Jesus, the Devil, and Duke Claudio as the falcon – reveal at once the extent of his cynosural narcissism and his craving for immortality. These figures defy mortal death: Jesus’s resurrection is a kind of immortality, as is his raising of Lazarus, which Aldo and Armino role-play as children; another boyhood role-play enacts the Devil’s invitation to Jesus to demonstrate imperishability; and Aldo’s self-fashioning as Duke Claudio, the falcon, in the festival, whose precipitative suicide Aldo replicates in his final Icarian flight, is foreshadowed in his death-defying piloting descent.

  • 67 Ibid., 633.
  • 68 Michael A. Sperber, “Albert Camus: Camus’ The Fall: The Icarus Complex,” American Imago, vol. 26, n (...)
  • 69 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 624.
  • 70 Ibid., 624.
  • 71 Ibid., 626.
  • 72 Ibid., 639.

21According to Murray, cynosural narcissism denotes “a craving for unsolicited attention and admiration, a desire to attract and enchant all eyes.”67 Michael A. Sperber adds to this: “the Icarian’s wish is that his mere appearance (cynosural presence), or some startling exploit (cynosural act) […] will draw all eyes.”68 Again, Grope’s case is abundantly and accurately manifest in Du Maurier’s Icarian brothers. Grope, whose fantasy involves a dictatorial role, “founding a new civilization with himself as king and lawgiver”,69 is realised by Aldo’s establishment of the secret orphaned boys’ society over which he rules. This band of brothers is a microcosm of the broader influence Aldo holds over the city of Ruffano. Like Grope, he aspires to “go down in history as a leader.”70 A parallel with Grope’s Icarian “appreciation or composition of artistic forms”71 finds expression in Aldo’s position as director of the Arts Council and in his curation of Ruffano’s annual theatrical festival. In these roles, Aldo fulfils the Icarian proclivity for “charismatic oratory and leadership […] and messianic enthusiasm.”72

  • 73 Ibid., 630.

22Aldo also manifests the Icarian propensity for identifying with prominent historical figures. His identification with the fifteenth-century Duke Claudio, about whom he learns by consulting a coveted biography, bears a remarkable parallel to Icarian behavior as outlined by Murray. In a clinical experiment, Grope, according to Murray, projects his own complex onto the image of another boy, explaining that “the reason he’s doing these daydreams is because he doesn’t feel he can get much glory in this age, this civilization. He needs to go back to an older one in his thoughts. He finally realizes that perhaps there were geniuses in the old days too.”73

  • 74 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 13.
  • 75 King James Bible, Mark 16:19.

23Aldo’s other assumed powerful, historical role is enacted during childhood, “believing, so the story ran, that he was the son of God.”74 As a boy, Aldo would induce his younger brother to role-play the biblical scene of the “Raising of Lazarus” as depicted in a fifteenth-century painting at the alter-piece of Ruffano’s chapel in the novel. During these role-plays, Aldo would summon his brother Armino, i.e. Lazarus, from his death-tomb. Du Maurier’s use of this biblical narrative is rich in Icarian imagery since it embodies the very essence of ascensionism: in addition to his ability to resurrect, to raise from the dead a close male ally from his tomb, Jesus later undergoes his own resurrection before occupying the highest position by God’s right hand,75 presiding over all from the lofty heights of heaven. Aldo’s incessant re-enactment of Jesus’s miracle is also evidence of Murray’s other Icarus complex symptom – a craving for immortality.

  • 76 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 637.
  • 77 Ibid., 637.
  • 78 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 32.
  • 79 Ibid., 35.

24Murray observes in the Icarus subject a yearning for “resurrection of the body or the soul [and a] fantasy of breaking out of his tomb, digging his way up, and hovering in phantom form over his parents’ house.”76 This bears remarkable resemblance to Du Maurier’s novel. After recurrent recollections of childhood role-plays of the “Raising of Lazarus”, Armino travels north to the elevated Ruffano, in a sense “digging his way up”,77 and does indeed hover around the house he lived in with his parents as a boy. During this time, Armino admits “I felt as a phantom would, returning after death”78 and “once more I had the strange impression that I was a ghost returned, or not even a ghost, some disembodied spirit of long ago, and that there, in the darkened house [of my parents] Aldo and I sleeping.”79

  • 80 Ibid.,13.
  • 81 Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, “Research Materials relating to Flight (...)
  • 82 Ibid., 13.
  • 83 King James Bible, Matthew 4:6-10.
  • 84 Furthermore, Aldo establishes himself as a dual figure, at once Jesus and Satan, as Armino reveals: (...)

25In a scene from the novel, Du Maurier describes another imaginary painting that the young Donati brothers used to role-play: a “masterpiece […] painted in the early fifteenth century by a pupil of Piero della Francesca”80 depicting another biblical scene, “The Temptation of Christ.” As with Lazarus, this is a fictional image likely inspired by real-life artistic renderings of the scene, such as the depictions collected in Du Maurier’s research materials.81 The image, the parable it depicts, and the role-play it inspires in the novel bear the same intertwining of superhuman, death-defying imaginings with a propensity for heights. Du Maurier stresses first and foremost their ascensionist/precipitative and cynosural narcissistic themes – their depiction of “Christ standing on the Temple pinnacle.”82 In most real-life artistic renderings of the parable, Christ is seen aloft – usually atop some dizzying plateau or precipice. The parable tells of the Devil’s invitation to Jesus to willingly plummet from this great height with the idea that winged beings – angels – will intervene, thereby confirming beyond doubt Jesus’s superhuman status.83 This foreshadows Aldo’s orchestration of his own avian plummet at the end of the novel. Aldo is now interchangeable with Jesus, Duke Claudio, and a falcon.84 Embodying key elements of Murray’s complex throughout the novel turns out to be a symbolic basis from which Aldo eventually achieves a most quintessential embodiment of the complex – the re-enactment of the flight of Icarus.

26Furthermore, Murray relates that the Icarian fantasy also involves scenarios in which the dead hero comes to life again:

  • 85 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 637, original italics.

[In addition to] resurrection (re-ascension) […] there is the possibility of replication, which may be defined as a process whereby one or more persons are transformed in the image of the subject. It is the complement of identification, or emulation: the implanting of a memorable image of the self in the minds of others.85

27This corresponds with the following Icarian fantasy in which the desire to replicate the self in the image of an idolised counterpart finds expression in a sexual partnership. Grope declares:

  • 86 Ibid., 638, original italics.

“I have created a replica of myself.” Whereupon the king says, “That is the most beautiful thing in the world, therefore you are the most beautiful thing in the world. Will you be my queen?” The king takes the hero as his male queen and gives this androgynous beauty half his kingdom (cynosural ascension of status).86

28Grope’s desire for replication resembles Aldo’s invitation to Armino to ride side by side with him in his chariot, and his bequeathing of his prestigious position upon his suicide.

  • 87 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 73.
  • 88 Ibid., 165.
  • 89 Ibid., 274.
  • 90 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 637.

29This coincides with Aldo’s return from the presumed dead, when Armino likens him to “the risen Christ”,87 “returned from the dead.”88 It also describes Armino’s replication of his older brother – as the likely new figurehead of Ruffano after the latter flies, Falcon-like, to his death at the end of the novel. Armino feels “transformed […] from what I had hitherto believed myself to be.”89 Upon death, Aldo lives on, resurrected through replication, in Armino. Aldo’s replication of himself through Armino also speaks to Murray’s theory of “the evolutionary significance of [the Icarian’s] overreaching need for attention, worship, fame – glory in the highest. But if this is denied man, there is still the possibility of immortalizing his likeness through reproduction.”90

  • 91 Ibid., 637.
  • 92 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 300.

30This “implanting of a memorable and impelling image of the self in the minds of others”91 with the desire to triumph over death finds expression in Aldo’s final Icarian flight as the Falcon, a feat he orchestrates to maximum effect by inciting the whole population to bear witness to it. To the very end, Aldo is in pursuit of immortality: “you never know. I might soar further this time.”92

Fire and Water Imagery

  • 93 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 631.
  • 94 Michael A. Sperber, op. cit., 274.
  • 95 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 618.
  • 96 Ibid., 631.
  • 97 Ibid., 631.

31According to Murray’s theory, the imagery of water and fire is also likely to dominate in the Icarian imagination, marked by “the association of persistent enuresis […], dreams of urination.”93 Also, as Sperber indicates, “the occurrence of incontinence or enuresis in the childhood of an Icarian is likely to result in an abundance of water imagery in subsequent dreams and fantasies.”94 Murray relates that “Grope wet his bed and his pants quite frequently until he was 11”95 Murray also documents that fire imagery, manifesting in a ““burning” ambition [and] exhibitionism”,96 is likely to be prevalent in the Icarian subject’s endeavours, to the extent that “there is a high incidence of pertinent fire imagery in his projective protocols.”97

  • 98 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 53.
  • 99 Ibid., 29.
  • 100 Ibid., 30. I quoted a condensed version of this passage in a previous section to illustrate the un (...)
  • 101 Ibid., 35.
  • 102 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 624.
  • 103 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 246

32A prevailing memory of Armino’s childhood in Ruffano is “the touch of Aldo’s hand, a desire to urinate.”98 Watery imagery continues to pervade Armino’s return to the city in which he grew up. On his approach, the sky is “threatening the snow.”99 As Ruffano looms ahead, Armino’s impressions combine a sense of height and precipitation, as noted above, with “snow-covered” wateriness.100 Standing in front of the Duomo, Armino notes that “icicles had formed on the fountain in the piazza, hanging like crystals.”101 Mirroring Grope’s “major recurrent fantasy”,102 which features “an inexhaustible spring of fresh water”,103 Armino further impresses the sense that water is related to childhood memories of his bird-brother:

  • 104 Ibid., 35.

I used to drink at this fountain, inspired by a tale of Aldo’s that it held all purity and many secrets in its clear waters […]. I lifted my head to the palace roof and saw brooding there, above the entrance door, the great bronze figure of the Falcon, emblem of the Malebranche, the ducal family, his head snow-capped, his giant wings outspread. […] Now it was my footprints only that marked the fallen snow, […] so that the snow, still featherlight, drifted in front of me.104

  • 105 Ibid., 34.
  • 106 Ibid., 36.

33Amidst this watery reminiscence, Armino’s body emits water, in a mirroring of his childhood incontinence, as “idiot tears pricked [his] eyes.”105 Clearly, for Armino, a confrontation with the city of his boyhood conjures a distinctly watery imagery that becomes interconnected with the avian imagery of the Falcon. It is at this point that Armino recognises his own life as a “flight without purpose.”106

  • 107 Ibid., 38.
  • 108 Ibid., 130.
  • 109 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 625.

34Whereas water imagery dominates Armino’s psyche, Aldo is connected to the opposing aspect of Icarian elemental imagery. Fire imagery is related to Aldo’s ascensionist escapades: the reader is reminded a number of times that “Aldo [was] shot down in flames”107 in a “fighter plane falling to the ground in flames”;108 wall sconces alight with naked flames pervade the ducal palace in which Aldo delivers one of his compelling demonstrations as the festival director; and two of his antics as the Falcon also involve fire imagery. Mirroring Aldo’s fire-inflected, ascensionist determination to “rise”, Grope also reveals that he yearns for his ““soul” to ignite and this inner fire will send me hurtling […] up the ladder of success.”109

  • 110 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 93.
  • 111 Ibid., 95.

35From the outset, Aldo’s “burning” ambition is likewise set amidst a fiery backdrop. The room in which Aldo’s rising from the presumed dead takes place is “illuminated by flares and torches […]. A huge log-fire was burning on the open hearth […], the leaping flames of the fire drew all eyes like a magnet […], the torch-light and the flames, reflecting shadows.”110 The scene commences with an abundance of references to these naked flames as the incredulous Armino works over in his mind the fire-filled nature of Aldo’s miraculous survival: “if [the plane] had crashed it had not burnt, or if it burnt the pilot had come out of it unscathed.”111 Either way, fire imagery is central to Aldo’s miraculous escape from death, and his “rising” from the dead.

  • 112 Ibid., 96.
  • 113 Ibid., 98.

36Aldo’s language is likewise infused with fire imagery as he incites his audience to partake in his elaborate re-enactment of the flight of the Falcon, “who by their example would act as a torch, a fire to every dukedom in the country.”112 Amidst this fiery speech, “four more [bodyguards] advanced, holding flares in either hand, and formed a square in the centre of the room, lit by the flames alone. Aldo took his place beside one of the flares.”113 Coinciding with the Icarian tendency towards arsonism, Aldo uses fire to carry out punishments, one of which involves tricking a student into thinking that his head has been set on fire. In Icarian terms, Aldo’s fire cathection is complimentary to the snow-filled and watery imagery of Armino’s arrival in the city. This reiterates the Jungian presentation of the two brothers as two sides of the same Icarian coin, fragmented upon the wrongly presumed death of the older, but when reunited, form the whole Icarian subject.

Depreciation of Women

  • 114 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 639.
  • 115 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 33.
  • 116 Ibid., 38.
  • 117 Ibid., 29.
  • 118 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 623.
  • 119 Ibid., 618.
  • 120 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 84.

37Murray’s Icarus complex also encompasses a condescension of women, evident in both Aldo’s and Armino’s attitudes and relationships, and “a revengeful (almost implacable) rejection of the mother”,114 examples of which are more often than not expressed through avian imagery. From the outset, Armino displays a contempt for the women he comes into contact with. The woman he remembers alternately “preen[ing] her maternal feathers”115 and wearing “a feather in her cap”116 was, he insists, his “beautiful slut of a mother.”117 Armino’s damning appraisal of his mother corresponds with that of Grope, whose “opinion of his mother is no higher than it was ten years ago. He thinks that her deficiencies of character outweigh her intellectual gifts. It is she who has disappointed him the most.”118 Murray recounts that Grope relished the idea of “a suffering remorseful mother”,119 which is consistent with Armino’s determination that “it could be that we get the death we deserve. That my mother, with her cancerous womb, paid for the doubtful pleasure of that double bed.”120 Corresponding with this Icarian sentiment, Armino prefers to interpret his mother’s departure with a German Commander as an unforgivable female sexual transgression rather than as a desperate attempt to save herself and her young son from unimaginable fates under German Occupation. Indeed, as soon as she and her son are safe, she begins a long-term relationship with an Italian who becomes a kindly de facto father to Armino.

  • 121 First, by Armino and his mother, who flee Ruffano, leaving Marta without explanation; second, by Al (...)
  • 122 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 285.

38This is not the only time Armino perpetuates the suffering of a mother figure by negatively interpreting the events of his past. In similar fashion, he dismisses Marta as a drunken vagabond, refusing to acknowledge her as the surrogate mother of his childhood thrice abandoned by her “sons.”121 He dismisses two women’s pleas that Marta’s life should be valued, and despite the dreams that confirm she is in fact his beloved childhood nurse, prefers to neglect her. Armino is not unaffected by this, but his repeated denial of her true identity reveals that, in this novel of fraught masculinities, concerns for women, and mothers in particular, are resisted. This depreciation of the mother figure is heightened by the fact that it was “Passion week, and this Friday dedicated to the Mother of God. […] It seemed to me then, kneeling in bewilderment, that the Mother played a sorry part in her Son’s story.”122 Despite this clear-eyed perception, Armino continues in his failure to reconnect to a matriarchal order.

  • 123 For insights into matricide in The Flight of the Falcon, see Melanie Jane Heeley, “‘Greece as Insca (...)
  • 124 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 299.

39Just before Aldo the Falcon leaps to his precipitative suicide, the two brothers discuss shared culpability in a double matricide.123 About Marta, his birth mother, Aldo admits: “Yes, I killed her […]. I killed her by despising her, by being too proud to accept the fact I was her son. Wouldn’t you say that counts as murder?”124 Armino responds with an equally Icarian matricidal sentiment, admitting that,

I thought no more of my relationship to Marta, but of my own mother who had died of cancer in Turin. When she had scribbled me a line from hospital. I had not answered.

  • 125 Ibid., 299.

“Yes,” I said, “it was murder. But we’re both guilty, and for the same cause.”125

  • 126 Ibid., 85.
  • 127 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 623.
  • 128 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 32.
  • 129 Ibid., 35.

40Armino’s earlier reference to the English proverb “that you should kill two birds with one stone”126 foreshadows the novel’s later revelation that two mothers are killed by the conjoining force of their matricidal sons. Murray’s subject, Grope, “often imagined his own death and his parents’ subsequent grief, one particularly gratifying fantasy being that of resurrection from the grave as a ghost and then of gloating unseen over his mother’s remorseful grave”,127 which recalls Armino’s sense that he is a “phantom”128 returning to his parent’s “darkened house.”129 In the novel, the Icarian matricidal tendency is delineated in avian terms. When he is told that he resembles his mother, for example, Armino reflects that it was meant

  • 130 Ibid., 290.

kindly, but it was the final insult. The humiliation of the years returned. The foolish figure that pattered in bare feet back to the chariot and mounted beside Aldo was not Duke Claudio, not the Falcon it was supposed to represent, but a scarecrow effigy of a woman I had rejected and despised for twenty years.130

41Armino’s eventual assimilation of himself with his mother as a “scarecrow effigy of a woman” is significant as it repositions the latter in the novel’s avian pattern: originally described with preening maternal feathers and feathered cap, she is now presented as a crow-scaring doll. An effigy, commonly a crudely made model of a person created for the purpose of public annihilation in protest of some ideological stance, seems a fitting description for an underdeveloped character whose function seems to be to illustrate Armino’s misogyny.

  • 131 Ibid.,173.

42In addition, Armino and Aldo extend their avian-inflected misogyny to the women associated with the University of Ruffano through the use of sexist, speciesist language. For example, one is contemptuously presented as a “wife, more like an eager hen than ever, pecking and clucking at [her husband’s] side.”131 Moreover, the trope of the caged bird, often a canary, is evoked in the following passage, where Armino hears its melodious song:

“That’s women for you.” [Jacopo] whistled up at the canary, who, swaying on its perch, feathers rumpled, was nearly bursting its small heart in song. “They’re all the same,” he said, “whether they’re women of quality like the signora or peasants like Marta. They try to squeeze a man dry. They come between a man and his work.” […]

  • 132 Ibid., 259-260.

The canary’s song finished in one last passionate trill. I looked up at it. The small throat quivered and was still.132

  • 133 Ibid., 138.
  • 134 Ibid., 138.
  • 135 Ibid., 134.

43The irony of this gross misunderstanding of both Marta and Signora Butali uttered against the backdrop of the caged canary seems lost on Armino. His prejudiced opinion of Signora Butali’s perceived sexual transgression is also formulated with bird imagery: “My hostess was ready poised for another movement of the ritual flight.”133 She is “the queen before the final flight.”134 Indeed, Signora Butali is ultimately perceived by both Armino and Aldo as an adulteress with a use, a “handsome wife [who] had been profaned by the Falcon himself.”135 Thus, to be any kind of woman in The Flight of the Falcon is to be detested and punished – for want of a better word, feathered.

  • 136 Ibid., 241.
  • 137 Nina Auerbach, op. cit., 111-112.
  • 138 Ibid., 110.

44Armino and Aldo reserve further contempt for another of the novel’s prominent women, Carla Raspa, whose seeming sexual avidity is condemned by both brothers. When Carla makes an omelet for Armino, he construes this act as a sexual provocation. By drawing attention to the violent nature of Carla’s preparation of the eggs (“she broke eggs into a basin and forked them briskly”,136), Du Maurier suggests a sexual power dynamic that unsettles Armino. Besides, Carla’s beating of the eggs, the reproductive matter of the chicken, is significant when considered in conjunction with the prevalence of malformed or afflicted wombs in Du Maurier’s fiction. As Auerbach has observed, “uterine cancer is a recurrent symptom” of her female characters who “do not love enough, or well enough, or consistently enough, or at all.”137 In other words, self-supporting women are, by the standards of her male protagonists, “rotten” and “defective.”138 Certainly, in The Flight of the Falcon, women like Armino’s mother, who are deemed sexually threatening or transgressive, or who fall without the narrow parameter of patriarchal femininity, are subject to a cancerous womb.

45But Du Maurier’s presentation of women in The Flight of the Falcon belies the presumption, expounded by Armino and Aldo, that female sexuality should be synonymous with dysfunctional fertility. Both Armino’s mother and Carla are seeking self-sustenance in a world run by overwrought, self-possessed, power-wielding and violent men, in which there are no meaningful roles for women. Carla may have a place of her own and a job, but she is under no illusion as to their ability to fulfil her. Her role as a university museum guide fails to exert her full intellectual capacity. In search of something more challenging, she seeks recruitment into Aldo’s secret society, but, like the other women present, she is disenfranchised from his band of brothers. Carla, competent and shrewd, craves a greater degree of social prominence and privilege. Her beating of the maternal eggs is a bleak observation that, in striving for what men have – power, influence, agency, excitement, sexual freedom, and intellectual stimulation – she is deemed by her male counterparts as self-destructive, dysfunctional, or, in Auerbach’s terms, “rotten” and “defective.” Aldo and Armino, disgusted by Carla’s sexual transgressions, misrepresent her by failing to comprehend the limited means by which she can obtain social mobility.

  • 139 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 242.
  • 140 Scenes of bird flesh and egg consumption, and reactions of nausea or revulsion, abound in Du Maurie (...)
  • 141 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 89.

46Compounding the threat that Armino perceives in Carla’s sexual vigour, their dialogue is interspersed with details of her making of the omelet before she demands, “Eat it while it’s hot”, to which Armino admits that he “did as she told me.”139 As with scenes of avian consumption in Du Maurier’s earlier fiction, Carla’s omelet is similarly indicative of a troubling gendered power dynamic.140 Whereas elsewhere in Du Maurier’s fiction the trope of bird consumption signals female consciousness to the threat of male dominance, the avian meal shared by Armino and Carla ostensibly reveals the female character as a potential threat. While the violence embedded in men’s bird-eating elsewhere in Du Maurier’s fiction is ultimately overlooked by their respective female partners, Armino is repulsed by the sexual transgression that Carla’s preparation of the omelet enacts. These two brothers, who knowingly perpetrate matricide, are deeply unsettled by the potential for a woman to exert sexual agency. Even before they conjoin in this avian meal, Armino detects Carla’s potential sexual dominance and describes it in avian terms: “I tried to remember what it was, whether bird of reptile, whose lovemaking ended always in the female devouring the male” (89).141

  • 142 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 640.
  • 143 Ibid., 640.

47This violation of the maternal symbol of the egg also speaks to Murray’s notion of the “Mother Rejection complex”142 that he identifies as integral to the matricidal element of the Icarus complex. In his case study, Murray relates how his Icarian subject, “never having loved his mother […] “sort of lost his virility”,143 then regained life when his father brought him a cup of chicken soup. Since male control is perceived to be destabilised when women, such as Carla, assume male-dominated positions of predation, which include sexual promiscuity and animal exploitation (such as consumption), the patriarchal order and “virility” are achieved again when the father figure is restored to the role of exploiter of other beings, such as Grope’s dead, consumed bird. Grope’s anecdote of avian consumption, in which his father feeds him dead bird soup, echoes Du Maurier’s earlier fiction when, for example, in Frenchman’s Creek, vegetable soup is substituted for bird corpse consumption as Dona St Columb confronts the necessity of returning to her stifling patriarchal life. Conversely, when Armino allows Carla to assume that he is homosexual, defusing the sexual menace that Carla initially poses to him, their meal consists of salad and fruit. In light of Carla’s disenfranchisement, her act of avian violence reveals her enforced complicity in the system of oppression that she endeavours to escape.

Conclusion

  • 144 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 304.
  • 145 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 615.

48The Flight of the Falcon”s Murrayesque Icarian components – rising and falling compulsions, reascensionism and reincarnation, cynosural narcissism, fire and water imagery, and depreciation of women – converge in the avian imagery of the novel’s explicitly Icarian finale, Aldo’s suicidal plummet as the Falcon. If “[l]ike Icarus, he flew too near the sun”,144 like Murray’s Icarus subject, Grope, he becomes a “sky hero.”145

49In a letter to Malet, dated 23 February 1964, Du Maurier makes connections between various components of the Icarus complex:

  • 146 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters, op. cit., 167.

I have to study the plans and postcards of Urbino, and the books about the University there, day after day, so that I could, in a way, find myself blindfold about the place! … then when I come to outline the story I find the first suspense idea, and the son et lumière, all become involved with deeper levels – I mean, there has to be an explanation of why the person directing the acting in the son et lumière (a professor at the University), begins to make it all come real to himself, and to the students etc., etc., what is his deep unconscious motive in wanting to re-enact history, and the wicked Duke. So it’s much more difficult than I thought, hence the slowness of the notes.146

50Despite her frustration at not being able to revisit the city that inspired the novel, Du Maurier was nonetheless immersed in its undulating, rising and falling topography by virtue of her efforts to imaginatively transport herself there and find her way around it in her mind’s eye. This process was undoubtedly intensified by the images of Urbino that Du Maurier had acquired. Out of this process, Du Maurier formulates an interconnection between the cityscape and the “deep unconscious motive” of her protagonists. It is out of this undulant landscape that Du Maurier’s sense of her protagonists’ unconscious motives emerges and is imaginatively formulated. Hence, she begins to conceptualise that these topographical oscillations “all become involved with deeper levels”, amongst which include Murray’s other Icarian criteria, the oppositional psychological compulsions towards ascensionism and precipitation, and fire and water imagery. Murray’s Icarus complex provides the motivations behind her protagonists’ bizarre psychology and behavior as well as the novel’s intricate symbology: the symbiosis between Ruffano’s fluctuating topography and the brothers’ alternating ascensionist and precipitative psychic compulsions; their incessant re-enactments of reincarnation myths; the pathology of narcissism that is haunted by the sense of self-inadequacy; the recurring fire and water imagery in dreams and its prominence in waking life; and the prevalence of misogyny and related pre-occupation with matricidal guilt.

  • 147 Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 35.
  • 148 Horner and Zlosnik, op. cit., 5.

51The Flight of the Falcon, like The Scapegoat (1957) before it and The House on the Strand (1969) after it, is a study of mythic and psychoanalytic archetypes of split subjectivity encapsulated in its pervasive imagery of oscillation and opposing forces. By integrating Murray’s complex into her doubled protagonists, Du Maurier effectively produces a theoretical resolution for the split subject that worried her throughout her life. With Aldo’s death, the schism of the Icarian brothers is potentially resolved with the rebirth of Armino who is now able to embody previously disparate or opposing aspects of the self in one whole, multifaceted subject – thus, at the end of the novel, he is no longer a “disembodied spirit.”147 In the terms of Nietzsche, whom Aldo quotes before he plunges to his death, Armino realises self-individuation. In Du Maurier’s terms, her own male persona, “the boy in a box”,148 dies or is dispensed with as a distinct and conflicting aspect of the self but not before becoming an integral part of the subject’s psyche, who is now not a split but a whole, multi-faceted being. Thus, the novel can be read as a realisation of the subject’s capacity to embody multifarious, seemingly contradictory elements. By encoding her novel with the opposing imagery of Murray’s psychological profile, Du Maurier theoretically resolves her own conundrum regarding split subjectivity. In a letter to Magee, she suggests the role that her fiction plays in negotiating the perceived problematic aspects of selfhood:

  • 149 Handwritten letter to Magee, dated “February 19. 1964.” Special Collections, Exeter Archives, Unive (...)

you will see that it is possible, by writing fiction, to exocise [sic] all sorts of things that would otherwise lie dormant. People who do not write often have to “live out” the unconscious tendencies within them, and this can lead to trouble, perhaps disaster.149

  • 150 Nina Auerbach, op. cit., 104.

52Notwithstanding this, such a complex, multi-layered novel resists a neat summation of conjectured meaning, and countenances a variety of seemingly contradictory elements. The idea that the brothers represent two sides of the Icarian coin in line with Jungian split subjectivity does not preclude what others have recognised as the novel’s exploration of Jung’s collective unconscious, nor does it contravene the Graeco-Roman elements explored by Heeley. Rather, The Flight of the Falcon demonstrates the many levels on which Du Maurier was attempting to work, and this multi-faceted capacity of the novel is itself testament to its success as a work that eludes reductive reading. Du Maurier’s narrative transformation of the Icarus myth and her employment of both a Jungian motif and Murray’s psychological personality theory reveal that she was prepared to take “artistic risks she hoped would free her from condescending categories.”150

  • 151 Heeley also reads The Flight of the Falcon as metatext, but with an emphasis on Du Maurier’s “ekph (...)

53Although her contemporaries, including her publisher, Victor Gollancz, refused to accept it, Du Maurier was self-consciously writing beyond conventional genres. With The Flight of the Falcon, she defies categorisation as a novelist of romance or adventure. The novel is not only a story, but a study that grapples with the deep mysteries of the human psyche that Du Maurier encountered in the works of Jung and, as this article would suggest, of his associate, Henry A. Murray. The novel proves Du Maurier’s responsiveness to intellectual concerns regarding human psychology and inheritance, myth, philosophy, and history, and can be read as an attempt to integrate these wide-ranging theories into a cohesive metatext.151 Since Du Maurier’s fiction is often underestimated, and The Flight of the Falcon is particularly undervalued and overlooked by critics, reading it with Murray’s personality complex in mind enriches and complicates our understanding of Du Maurier as a writer.

54In his article outlining the remarkably consistent Icarian components found in Albert Camus’s character, Clamence, in The Fall (1956), Sperber concludes:

  • 152 Michael A. Sperber, op. cit., 280.

it is a tribute to Camus’ intuitive understanding that his protagonist is a recognizable psychological type. Clamence’s associations, fantasies, and preoccupations have internal consistency, and by relating them to Murray’s syndrome, it is hoped that certain puzzling metaphors and unusual juxtapositions may become more comprehensible.152

55Given the glowing appraisal afforded to Camus for his “intuitive” creation of the Icarian subject, it follows that Du Maurier should receive a similarly lofty recognition since her novel satisfies the same criteria.

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Bibliographie

ANDERSON James William, “An Interview with Henry A. Murray on His Meeting with Sigmund Freud”, Psychoanalytic Psychology, vol. 34, no. 3, March 2016, 322-332.

AUERBACH Nina, Daphne Du Maurier: Haunted Heiress, Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2000.

COUSINS A.D., “Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Ganymede’”, The Explicator, vol. 71, no. 3, 2013, 218-220.

DU MAURIER Daphne, Frenchman’s Creek, London: Virago, 2015.

DU MAURIER Daphne, Jamaica Inn, London: Virago, 2015.

DU MAURIER Daphne, Letters From Menabilly: Portrait of a Friendship, ed. Oriel Malet, New York: M. Evans, 1992.

DU MAURIER Daphne, The Breaking Point: Short Stories, London: Virago, 2009.

DU MAURIER Daphne, The Flight of the Falcon, London: Virago, 2006.

DU MAURIER Daphne, The House on the Strand, London: Virago, 2003.

DU MAURIER Daphne, The King’s General, London: Virago, 2007.

DU MAURIER Daphne, The Rebecca Notebook and Other Memories, London: Virago, 2006.

DU MAURIER Daphne, The Scapegoat, London: Virago, 2004.

FORSTER Margaret, Daphne Du Maurier, London: Arrow, 1994.

HEELEY Melanie Jane, “‘Greece as Inscape’ in Daphne Du Maurier’s The Flight of the Falcon”, in Rebecca Munford & Helen Taylor (eds.), Women: a Cultural Review, vol. 20, no. 1, 2009, 42-56.

HEELEY Melanie Jane, Resurrection, Renaissance, Rebirth: Religion, Psychology and Politics in the Life and Works of Daphne Du Maurier, Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Loughborough U, 2007, rev. 2019. <https://repository.lboro.ac.uk/articles/Resurrection_renaissance_rebirth_religion_psychology_and_politics_in_the_life_and_works_of_Daphne_du_Maurier/9326801>, accessed 8 March 2020.

HORNER Avril & Sue ZLOSNIK, Daphne Du Maurier: Writing, Identity and the Gothic Imagination, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998.

HORNER Avril & Sue ZLOSNIK, “Glimpses of the Dark Side”, in Helen Taylor (ed.), The Daphne Du Maurier Companion, London: Virago, 2010, 242-248.

JUNG Carl Gustav (ed.), Man and His Symbols, New York: Random House, 1964.

KELLY Richard, Daphne Du Maurier, Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1987.

MURRAY Henry A., “American Icarus”, in Arthur Burton & Robert E. Harris (eds.), Clinical Studies of Personality [1955], New York: Harper & Row, 1966.

ROBINSON Forrest G., Love’s Story Told: A Life of Henry A. Murray, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1992.

SPERBER Michael A., “Albert Camus: Camus’ The Fall: The Icarus Complex,” American Imago, vol. 26, no. 3, 1969, 269-280.

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Notes

1 Daphne Du Maurier, Jamaica Inn, London: Virago, 2015, 292.

2 Daphne Du Maurier, The Breaking Point: Short Stories, London: Virago, 2009, 108.

3 Ibid., 147. In “The Pool”, “Deborah thought of Icarus, soaring towards the sun. Did he know when his wings began to melt? How did he feel? She stretched out her arms and thought of them as wings. The fingertips would be the first to curl, and then turn cloggy soft, and useless. What terror on the sudden loss of height, the drooping power.” (147) When Deborah herself “flung up her arms to the sky” (138), “the joy was indescribable, and the surge of feeling, like wings about her in the air, lifted her away” (140). Amidst this euphoric outburst, her overriding vision is dominated by “the beating of wings. This above all, the beating of wings” (141). In “Ganymede”, the narrator, who imagines “the boy and I, soaring towards the sun […] as though both of us plunged headlong into the molten mist which was neither sea nor sky, but the luminous rings encircling the star” (119), also displays the five components of Henry A. Murray’s Icarus complex, rooted in Jungian personality theories, which I will outline in this article. Stephen in “The Chamois” also manifests components of the Icarus complex whilst the eagle, mentioned five times throughout the tale, “soared” (261). Du Maurier’s recurring use of the phrase, “soaring towards the sun”, connects these three Icarian stories originally published together in The Breaking Point (1959). Further examples of Du Maurier’s evocation of the Icarian imagination include: “A Difference in Temperament” (1929), “The Doll” (1937), and “The Old Man” (1952). Some feature Icarian scenarios, in which protagonists experience the euphoria or horror of avian transformation or flight; others portray a protagonist who manifests, with remarkable accuracy, the five features of Murray’s Icarus personality complex. Most of these short stories encompass both of these mythic and psychoanalytic dimensions. Although it is beyond the scope of this article to include analysis of the full extent of Du Maurier’s pervasive and persistent use of the Icarus myth and related personality complex, it is nonetheless worth noting that these Icarian tales, including The Flight of the Falcon, span five decades of Du Maurier’s writing career.

4 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, London: Virago, 2006, 304.

5 Richard Kelly, Daphne Du Maurier, Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1987, 130.

6 Nina Auerbach, Daphne Du Maurier: Haunted Heiress, Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2000, 65.

7 Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik, “Glimpses of the Dark Side”, in Helen Taylor (ed.), The Daphne Du Maurier Companion, London: Virago, 2010, 242-248, 243.

8 Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik, Daphne Du Maurier: Writing, Identity and the Gothic Imagination, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998, 170.

9 Richard Kelly, op. cit., 113.

10 Melanie Jane Heeley, Resurrection, Renaissance, Rebirth: Religion, Psychology and Politics in the Life and Works of Daphne Du Maurier, Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Loughborough U, 2007, rev. 2019, <https://repository.lboro.ac.uk/articles/Resurrection_renaissance_rebirth_religion_psychology_and_politics_in_the_life_and_works_of_Daphne_du_Maurier/9326801>, accessed 8 March 2020, 185.

11 For evidence of Du Maurier’s broader interest in Graeco-Roman myth, see her essay, “Romantic Love” (Rebecca Notebook 99-108). Heeley explores mythic dimensions of The Flight of the Falcon and acknowledges Du Maurier’s interest in Jung (“Greece” and Resurrection). Horner and Zlosnik recognise that “undoubtedly there are Jungian resonances in this late novel, evidence of the influence of Du Maurier’s reading of Jung’s work” (Daphne Du Maurier 160). Margaret Forster also points out the novel’s interest in Jungian theory (336).

12 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly: Portrait of a Friendship, ed. Oriel Malet, New York: M. Evans, 1992, 34, 48.

13 Ivan Magee was a fan of Du Maurier’s fiction who had initially written to her with questions about Rebecca. The pair subsequently developed a correspondence that touched on personal subjects and included Du Maurier’s frequent references to Jungian theories. See Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, ‘Letters to Ivan Magee”, EUL MS 354. Permission to reproduce excerpts from Du Maurier’s unpublished letters, typescripts, and research materials held at Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, is granted by her son and literary executor, Christopher Browning and The Chichester Partnership.

14 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly, op. cit., 33, 39, 141.

15 Ibid., 33.

16 Ibid., 39.

17 Ibid., x.

18 Ibid., 141. This letter is dated 9 November 1962. Her first mention of “brewing” the novel that became The Flight of the Falcon appears in a letter dated 11 March 1963 (149-50). Although she claims to have read all of Jung’s publications, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, first published in 1933, is the only one she mentions specifically.

19 Ibid., 167.

20 The following are exceptions: Horner and Zlosnik dedicate a thirteen-page section to The Flight of the Falcon; Heeley has written a twenty-page section on the novel as part of her PhD thesis, and has subsequently published a journal article relating to this research. Neither of these studies identify the novel’s symbiosis with Murray’s Icarus complex or examine its Jungian elements in detail.

21 Du Maurier predicted that The Flight of the Falcon would be misunderstood; she lamented that her publisher, Victor Gollancz, had failed to recognise the ““Deeper” Thought layers” and “just thinks it’s a suspense story” (Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly, 176). Furthermore, she admitted, “I’m afraid people are not going to understand [The Flight of the Falcon] at all” (Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly, 177). Du Maurier’s predictions were realised by contemporary critics, who condemned the novel as another “little” “bestseller” and an “extraordinarily dull book” (Kelly, Daphne Du Maurier, 108).

22 “Some of the[se] symbols […] derive from what Dr. Jung has called “the collective unconscious” – that is, that part of the psyche which retains and transmits the common psychological inheritance of mankind” (Carl Gustav Jung (ed.), Man and His Symbols, 98).

23 Carl Gustav Jung (ed.), Man and His Symbols, New York: Random House, 1964, 38.

24 Ibid., 113.

25 Ibid., 146-156.

26 Ibid., 147.

27 Ibid., 155-156.

28 See, in particular, the following images: “Scalette di Santa Margherita”, Italia Artistica No. 6: Urbino; “Panorama Sulla Conca del Catria”, Italia Artistica No. 6: Urbino; “Scalette di S. Giovanni, Italia Artistica No. 6: Urbino; “La Scala a chiocciola nei torricini”, I Tesori DellArte Italiana: Il Palazzo Ducale di Urbino; “Palazzo Ducale – Tiziano: La Resurrezione”, Italia Artistica No. 6: Urbino; and “L’Aquila di Federico Conte”, I Tesori DellArte Italiana: Il Palazzo Ducale di Urbino. These images belong to Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, “Research Materials relating to Flight of the Falcon”, EUL MS 207/6/1/3/1.

29 Daphne Du Maurier, Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 58.

30 Carl Gustav Jung, Man and His Symbols, op. cit., 101.

31 Ibid., 112-113.

32 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters From Menabilly, op. cit., 48.

33 Murray’s life and work were intimately bound and influenced by Jung’s. An interview with Murray, conducted in 1975 by American psychoanalyst James William Anderson, reveals the extent of the connections between Jung and Murray. Anderson asserts that in 1925 “Murray underwent an analysis lasting a few weeks with him. In later years, Murray had several visits with him and corresponded with him […]. Murray was enchanted with Jung during the period of the analysis” (James William Anderson, “An Interview with Henry A. Murray on His Meeting with Sigmund Freud”, Psychoanalytic Psychology, vol. 34, no. 3, March 2016, 322-332, 324). In this interview, Murray also recalls a time when Jung participated in talks given during two-hour-long lunch events at Harvard Psychological Clinic, where Murray was based (327). Tellingly, in this interview purportedly centering on Murray’s “meeting with Sigmund Freud” (322), the former refers to Jung no less than twenty-four times. For further evidence of Murray’s connections to Jung, see Forrest G. Robinson’s biography of Murray (1992), which contains nineteen references to Jung, four references to the Icarus complex, and a reference to the Icarus complex in relation to Jung.

34 Henry A. Murray, “American Icarus”, in Arthur Burton & Robert E. Harris (eds.), Clinical Studies of Personality [1955], New York: Harper & Row, 1966, 631-638. Murray sees bisexuality as a further indicator of his complex. Du Maurier’s novel also satisfies this element but it is beyond the scope of this article to fully investigate it.

35 Ibid., 616.

36 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 106.

37 Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, “Letters to Ivan Magee”, letter dated “December 14. 1960”, EUL MS 354.

38 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 631.

39 Used in the field of psychology, “cathex” refers to “the concentration or accumulation of mental energy in a particular channel” (OED, accessed 8 March 2020).

40 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 631.

41 Ibid., 635.

42 Ibid., 629.

43 Ibid., 621.

44 Ibid., 624.

45 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 35, 83, 303.

46 Ibid., 303.

47 Ibid., 14.

48 Ibid., 14.

49 Ibid., 39.

50 Ibid., 42.

51 Ibid., 30.

52 Ibid., 30.

53 Ibid., 30.

54 Ibid., 635.

55 Ibid., 69-70.

56 Amendment on “Typescript of The Flight of the Falcon (1965)”, 113-14. EUL MS 144/1/13, Special Collections, Exeter archives, University of Exeter.

57 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 35.

58 Ibid., 264.

59 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 619.

60 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 260.

61 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 632.

62 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 291.

63 Ibid., 297.

64 Ibid., 292.

65 Ibid., 292.

66 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 635.

67 Ibid., 633.

68 Michael A. Sperber, “Albert Camus: Camus’ The Fall: The Icarus Complex,” American Imago, vol. 26, no. 3, 1969, 269-280, 273. My approach is directed in part by what Sperber has to say about Albert Camus’s novel, The Fall. Sperber demonstrates a likewise remarkable correlation between the components of Murray’s Icarus complex and the nature of Camus’s character, Clamence.

69 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 624.

70 Ibid., 624.

71 Ibid., 626.

72 Ibid., 639.

73 Ibid., 630.

74 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 13.

75 King James Bible, Mark 16:19.

76 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 637.

77 Ibid., 637.

78 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 32.

79 Ibid., 35.

80 Ibid.,13.

81 Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, “Research Materials relating to Flight of the Falcon”, EUL MS 207/6/1/3/1.

82 Ibid., 13.

83 King James Bible, Matthew 4:6-10.

84 Furthermore, Aldo establishes himself as a dual figure, at once Jesus and Satan, as Armino reveals: “I did not know whether I should meet with the Christ or with the Devil, for according to Aldo’s ingenious theory the two were one, and also, in some manner which he never explained, interchangeable” (Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, 12). In many visual interpretations of this biblical scene, Satan’s wings are depicted as distinctly bird-like and therefore further foreshadow Aldo’s own winged persona. These Icarian symptoms become indistinguishable from the novel’s avian imagery when these ascensionist/precipitative figures converge: “the face of the Christ, gazing out from the portrait to the hills beyond, had been drawn by the daring artist in the likeness of Claudio, the mad duke, named the Falcon, who in a frenzy had thrown himself from the tower, believing, so the story ran, that he was the Son of God.” Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 13).

85 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 637, original italics.

86 Ibid., 638, original italics.

87 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 73.

88 Ibid., 165.

89 Ibid., 274.

90 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 637.

91 Ibid., 637.

92 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 300.

93 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 631.

94 Michael A. Sperber, op. cit., 274.

95 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 618.

96 Ibid., 631.

97 Ibid., 631.

98 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 53.

99 Ibid., 29.

100 Ibid., 30. I quoted a condensed version of this passage in a previous section to illustrate the undulating topography of Ruffano. It is worth quoting again here, with further details included, to show the extent of its equally snowy, watery aspects: “snow-covered […] snowflakes fell, or rather we ran into them as we came up from the south; they must have been falling all day. The sky became a pall. The rivers, swollen with the coursing mountain streams, roared through the ravines beside us. […] It was magnificent. […] Snow banked the road as it curved upward, lay thick upon the roof-tops, made phantoms of the trees, and, crowning the minarets of the twin towers of the palace and the Duomo and campanile beyond, turned my city into legend, into dream” (30).

101 Ibid., 35.

102 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 624.

103 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 246

104 Ibid., 35.

105 Ibid., 34.

106 Ibid., 36.

107 Ibid., 38.

108 Ibid., 130.

109 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 625.

110 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 93.

111 Ibid., 95.

112 Ibid., 96.

113 Ibid., 98.

114 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 639.

115 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 33.

116 Ibid., 38.

117 Ibid., 29.

118 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 623.

119 Ibid., 618.

120 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 84.

121 First, by Armino and his mother, who flee Ruffano, leaving Marta without explanation; second, by Aldo, who refuses to acknowledge her as his birth mother; and thirdly, by Armino, who deserts her after discovering her slumped in a drunken stupor on the streets of Rome.

122 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 285.

123 For insights into matricide in The Flight of the Falcon, see Melanie Jane Heeley, “‘Greece as Inscape’ in Daphne Du Maurier’s The Flight of the Falcon”, in Rebecca Munford & Helen Taylor (eds), Women: a Cultural Review, vol. 20, no. 1, 2009, 42-56, 50-53; Heeley, Resurrection, op. cit., 186-191; or Horner and Zlosnik, Daphne Du Maurier, op. cit., 170-172.

124 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 299.

125 Ibid., 299.

126 Ibid., 85.

127 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 623.

128 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 32.

129 Ibid., 35.

130 Ibid., 290.

131 Ibid.,173.

132 Ibid., 259-260.

133 Ibid., 138.

134 Ibid., 138.

135 Ibid., 134.

136 Ibid., 241.

137 Nina Auerbach, op. cit., 111-112.

138 Ibid., 110.

139 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 242.

140 Scenes of bird flesh and egg consumption, and reactions of nausea or revulsion, abound in Du Maurier’s fiction from her earliest short stories (“Fairy Tale”, “Indiscretion”, “Frustration”, and “Nothing Hurts for Long”) to her mid-career, heroine-centred novels (Frenchman’s Creek and The King’s General) to many later short stories, like “Split Second”, “The Rendezvous”, “The Apple Tree”, “The Alibi”, “The Blue Lenses”, “Ganymede”, “The Pool”, “The Chamois”, “A Border-Line Case”, and “The Way of the Cross.” Three of the tales mentioned in the opening section of this article (“Ganymede”, “The Chamois”, and “The Pool”) contain scenes of bird consumption: in “The Pool”, Deborah, on the brink of a sexual rite of passage, muses on the fate of Icarus while pondering the consequences of human disregard for consumed birds; the narrator of “Ganymede” imagines the object of his desire serving him a swan instead of coffee; and the nauseating effect of fried eggs on the narrator of “The Chamois” also signals the uneasy bourgeoning of sexual awakening. In the earlier tales, the consumption of bird flesh and eggs occurs amidst delusional protagonists’ confrontations with awkward truths. Throughout the tales of the 1950s, scenes of bird consumption continue to appear during episodes of crises in the lives of men, and during moments of potential awakening in the lives of women. In the 1970s, Du Maurier re-enlists this avian trope in “A Border-Line Case”, a tale of unwitting father-daughter incest, the perpetrators of which eat hard-boiled eggs and cold chicken. Most are concerned with the power dynamics at play in sexual relationships and encounters; others probe the coming-to-terms with a stifled, yet threatening, sexual identity. In all of these tales, engagement with commodified birds’ eggs and flesh always signals malcontent. When couples share an avian meal, or one of the couple partakes in bird consumption in the presence of the other, such as the linnet-like Dona St Columb’s conflicted partaking of chicken during trysts with her bird-admiring lover in Frenchman’s Creek and Honor Harris’s swan consumption and sickness during an illicit encounter with the bird hunting and hawking Richard Grenvile, Du Maurier implies a dysfunctional relationship in some way.

141 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 89.

142 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 640.

143 Ibid., 640.

144 Daphne Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 304.

145 Henry A. Murray, op. cit., 615.

146 Daphne Du Maurier, Letters, op. cit., 167.

147 Du Maurier, The Flight of the Falcon, op. cit., 35.

148 Horner and Zlosnik, op. cit., 5.

149 Handwritten letter to Magee, dated “February 19. 1964.” Special Collections, Exeter Archives, University of Exeter, “Letters to Ivan Magee”, EUL MS 354.

150 Nina Auerbach, op. cit., 104.

151 Heeley also reads The Flight of the Falcon as metatext, but with an emphasis on Du Maurier’s “ekphraseis” (“Greece” 42, 54).

152 Michael A. Sperber, op. cit., 280.

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Helena Habibi, « “Soaring Towards the Sun”: The Icarus Complex in Daphne Du Maurier’s The Flight of the Falcon »Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], vol. 19-n°52 | 2021, mis en ligne le 29 novembre 2021, consulté le 06 décembre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/13659 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/lisa.13659

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Helena Habibi

Helena Habibi completed her PhD in 2020 at Durham University, UK, where she teaches English literature. Her thesis examines the intersections between speciesism and gendered oppression in the fiction of the Brontë sisters and Daphne du Maurier and argues for an emerging feminist-vegetarian consciousness that reverberates between the two bodies of work palimpsestuously across time. She has published on avian gender politics in Jane Eyre (special issue of Brontë Studies Journal, 2019). Her chapter, “Feminism and Animal Advocacy: Anne Brontë’s Novels in Context”, is due for publication in the Routledge Companion to Literature and Feminism in 2023. She is currently co-editing a volume of collected essays arising from the conference “Literary Birds” (Durham University, 2018), which she co-organised and where she talked about “Sexist/Speciesist Language in Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn.”

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