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Presented at the 1980 annual meeting of the Western Literature Association by Mick McAllister.
Citational Data: If you wish to refer to this article, use the following citational data
Mick McAllister. "The Sundered Egg: The Sexual Issue in Frederick Manfred's The Manly-Hearted Woman". At Wanderer's Well http://www.dancingbadger.com/sunderf.htm (November, 2001).
Summary: Manfred's The Manly-Hearted Woman is a sexual allegory, a prolonged meditation of the concept of animus/anima as propunded by Plato and Jung.
November, 2001: This paper was the source of some amusement at 1981 WLA meeting, when another English professor parodied the solemnity with which I attempted to address the inherently amusing topic of human sexuality. Sex is funny, after all. Ask any sitcom writer. I took the ribbing in the spirit it was meant, but never bothered to submit the paper for publication. I expect the reception of the paper nicely mirrored the reception of Fred's novel, which also made the mistake of taking sex seriously.
Fred was a beloved friend and mentor, and a writer whose gifts, because they were unorthodx, were not much appreciated in his lifetime or since. I wrote my essays on his work as gifts of love, and once he died (September 7, 1994), there seemed no reason to continue the futile exercise of criticism. The essays are honest and accurate assessments, and they pay him the respect of assuming his work was serious fiction, even at its most wrong-headed (King of Spades, I'm afraid). The Manly-Hearted Woman may not be a great work of American fiction, but as a parable of the human condition, it has its merits.
I will be posting an essay on King of Spades, his beloved least attractive child, and, eventually, my essay "We Sons of Jacob," which pulls together the entire series.
The page citations in the essay are to the original Crown hardcover edition.