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Reply To: Mythology is psychology misread.””


Johanna writes

Beyond Jung, it has been helpful to read the conversations and pieces contributed to these forums in understanding myths from wider perspective.

Jung is always a good place to begin – as Campbell notes, “Jung gave me my best clues” as to how to read myths. I don’t throw out Jung, but I add to him, by exploring the perspective of post-Jungian (e.g., James Hillman) and non-Jungian (Walter Burkert, Marina Warner, etc.) writers on myths and fairy tales.

I completely agree with your sentiment, Johanna, that “there is something in the myths of ancient times and the literature that followed , that can be integrated into what kind of new myth we might create today.” In fact, I think it’s inevitable. I am just not sure how conscious it will be. Campbell observed that you can’t determine ahead of time what the new myth will be any more than you can decide exactly what you are going to dream tonight; both emerge from the unconscious psyche.

But I do believe we see many of these themes emerging in literature. I especially appreciate your approach to works like Beowulf, guiding students into looking beyond the surface to the depths that Jung helps open.

I know your emphasis is on medieval literature. It does seem the emphasis in popular culture today is shifting from written text to films and carefully crafted television series. I am curious as to your thoughts on whether some of these have a place beside lasting works of literature, or are they all simply fleeting ephemera?