Fairy tales seem to be innocent stories, yet they contain profound lessons for those who would dive deep into their waters of meaning. In this book, Marie-Louise von Franz uncovers some of the important lessons concealed in tales from around the world, drawing on the wealth of her knowledge of folklore, her experience as a psychoanalyst and a collaborator with Jung, and her great personal wisdom. Among the many topics discussed in relation to the dark side of life and human psychology, both individual and collective, are:
• How different aspects of the "shadow"—all the affects and attitudes that are unconscious to the ego personality—are personified in the giants and monsters, ghosts, and demons, evil kings and wicked witches of fairy tales • How problems of the shadow manifest differently in men and women • What fairy tales say about the kinds of behavior and attitudes that invite evil • How Jung's technique of Active imagination can be used to overcome overwhelming negative emotions • How ghost stories and superstitions reflect the psychology of grieving • What fairy tales advise us about whether to struggle against evil or turn the other cheek
Dr. von Franz concludes that ever rule of behavior that we can learn from the unconscious through fairy tales and dreams is usually a paradox: sometimes there must be a physical struggle against evil and sometimes a contest of wits, sometimes a display of strength or magic and sometimes a retreat. Above all, she shows the importance of relying on the central, authentic core of our being—the innermost Self, which is beyond the struggle between the opposites of good and evil.
Marie-Louise von Franz
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is in two parts, the first part is shorter and deals with the shadow. The second part deals with evil. I liked the second part much more than the first part. If you are familiar with the author, and like her books, you should like this one. As in the other books of hers that I've read, this one is composed of transcribed lectures and so I find the voice at once relatable and informative. It must've been really something to have actually been at one of her lectures!
Had this book been titled Jung and Fairy Tales I would have given it five stars. It's wonderfully written and makes use of fairy tales from around the world to make it clear that there are fundamental aspects of our unconscious that we all share. However, I read it hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the shadow's role and was disappointed in that sense. Still, as a general view of a Jungian approach to fairy tales I found this book both academic and accessible. Lastly, I feel I should mention that, while only a minor grievance, there were a number of typos which I always find frustrating in published works.
I am an intense Jungian & love many of the newer authors, in particular Robert Johnson. Each paragraph is dense with multiple threads & symbols but they are developed tersely in many places somewhat like name dropping. I started the book twice because of the tendency to symbol drop rather than develop. I expect to read this book several times because the material is so important but I will most likely have to do the thread integration myself which may have been the author's objective anyway.
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