By Bettina L. Knapp
This book is the first to apply systematically Jungian psychology to the study of literature throughout the ages. The ten essays are purposefully different, illustrating the universality of Jungian archetypal analysis and criticism.
The book has been divided into seven sections: the first five follow chronological order from Euripides to Goethe and finally Yeats; the sixth and seventh are presented separately because they explore unique psychological experiences. Each essay is divided into two parts: an ectypal and an archetypal analysis of the works discussed. The ectypal section presents a brief historical summary of the period, acquainting readers with appropriate facts concerning the author's environment. The archetypal analysis, however, is the most important aspect of A Jungian Approach to Literature.
Archetypes, contained in the collective unconscious, exist at the deepest level within the subliminal realm. They are "made manifest in archetypal (primordial) images: experienced in such universal motifs as the Great Mother, the Spiritual Father, Transformation, the Self, and others." The Jungian archetypal approach to literature acts as a broadening force in the life experience.
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