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Hobdell, R. (1983). Gould, Eric. Mythical Intentions in Modern Literature. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1981. Pp. 279. £15.70.. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(1):83-84.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(1):83-84

Gould, Eric. Mythical Intentions in Modern Literature. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1981. Pp. 279. £15.70.

Review by:
Roger Hobdell

Edited by:
Corinna Peterson

Almost every page in this interesting book made me wish to learn from or argue with it. It is densely written in that neo-classical language: academic-structuralist. Indeed, a working knowledge of Levi-Strauss and Bardies would make Professor Gould's book easier to read. Unfortunately, structuralism is the language of the sign and the signified and has little ambiguity or numinosity itself. Professor Gould nevertheless uses it quite successfully to point at the mythical which has its own language of the symbol and openness. His relationship to the symbolic appears contradictory in that at times he acknowledges the unconscious and unknowable element in it, but also believes it is wholly available to the intellect.

He begins with Heidegger's confrontation with Nothing. We have always been beings projected into Nothing: Nothing is not an object, yet we live with the experience of nihilation (sic). Our sense of this in the West has grown, not diminished, in modern times. The mythic with which he is concerned attempts to deal with the paradox that Nothing is the ground of Being. Later he describes myth as the history of our inability to authenticate our knowledge of being. There is an ontological gap between event (being/not-being) and meaning, and meaning implies interpretative, verbal processes and discourse. It is this gap that myth fills. The book attempts to show that in modern times literature can attain the status of myth as a superior treatment of fact.

There are chapters devoted to the structural model, where Levi-Strauss comes off rather badly, and one on Joyce, who does better.

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