A Jungian approach to literature

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Southern Illinois University Press, Nov 1, 1984 - Psychology - 402 pages
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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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About the author (1984)

Bettina L. Knapp is Professor of Ro­mance Languages and Comparative Literature at Hunter College.

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