Women in Twentieth-Century Literature: A Jungian View

Women in Twentieth-Century Literature: A Jungian View

Women in Twentieth-Century Literature: A Jungian View

Women in Twentieth-Century Literature: A Jungian View

Synopsis

An interdisciplinary work, comparative in nature, which offers extensive and extremely significant information about the cultural context of each work studied as well as penetrating analyses of the characters and situations from the unique perspectives of the psychology/philosophy developed by C. G. Jung. Dr. Knapp here concentrates on Garcia Lorca's Yerma, Elizabeth Bowen's The Death of the Heart, Isak Dinesen's "Peter and Rosa," Nathalia Ginzburg's All Our Yesterdays, Flannery O'Connor's Everything that Rises Must Converge Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, Nathalie Sarraute's Between Life and Death, Pa Chin's Family, Fumiko Enchi's Masks, and Anita Desai's Fire on the Mountain. This is an important book to scholars in women's studies, in the relation of psychology and literature, in religious studies and philosophy as the relate to women, and in the contemporary novel and world literature.

Excerpt

Dr. Jung: The unconscious begins at the boundary line of the field of vision, and back of that is invisibility, where the demon is supposed to be. So the poison comes naturally from that region and not from the region of argument. But the man protests and says: Oh no, their back is pure and sacred. What does that refer to?

Answer: To the idealization of women.

Dr. Jung: Exactly. That is typical, not only of individual women but of whole nations, beginning with sacred motherhood, and the purity and chastity of women, and all that. It is a typical healthy-minded mistake. It is an optimism, but a most destructive kind of optimism.

For centuries women have been idealized or reviled in religions, works of art, and empirical relationships. To have projected such idealization or revilement onto the feminine principle must have answered--and still does--some unknown need within individuals, societies, and nations. The very word projection implies an act of thrusting or throwing forward--a "process whereby an unconscious quality or content of one's own is perceived and reacted to in an outer object." To project, then, is to attribute or assign characteristics we love or hate onto others. While we believe the qualities we ascribe to an individual or to a group belong to others, they are, in fact, our own. Because we are unaware of their existence within us, since they live inchoate in our subliminal sphere, they need conscious development to be understood, and then integrated into the psyche, so we can use them in a positive manner.

Only by becoming aware of this kind of archaic and primitive contents . . .

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