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Miller, B. (1983). Spiegelman, Marvin J. The Knight. Falcon Press, Phoenix, U.S.A. 1982. Pp. 87. n.p.. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(3):286-287.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(3):286-287

Spiegelman, Marvin J. The Knight. Falcon Press, Phoenix, U.S.A. 1982. Pp. 87. n.p.

Review by:
Beth Miller

Edited by:
Andrew Samuels

The first chapter of this short book is headed The potentials of active imagination. The author's examination of the literature is, he says, ‘relatively cursory’, and the book seems to be addressed to readers who are interested in Jung's work but are not in contact with informed groups. He gives brief quotations from Jung's writings on the subject and a half-page summary of stages in his method, as outlined by Marie-Louise von Franz. As guides to method he also mentions books by Barbara Hannah, Edmund Steinbrecher and Mary Watkins.

Of active imagination in therapeutic practice he observes that relatively few patients do it at all, and it would have been interesting to hear more of his thoughts about why this is so. He raises questions about its use, but his observations on conflicting attitudes are all too brief, as are his references to the views of Michael Fordham, Emma Jung and Barbara Hannah. As he says, very little has been written about this method of therapy, and I would have liked this part of his book to have been expanded.

His second chapter serves mainly to introduce his personal form of imaginative activity, which he calls ‘Psycho-mythology’. Examples of this are given in six tales of his own making, which fill two-thirds of the book. Whether myth can be created in this way seems to me to be highly dubious; such an attempt would raise the whole question of Jung's concept of the collective unconscious in relation to the nature of myth. The value of the products of imaginative activity is inevitably subjective, and whatever value they may have in therapy, criticism is out of place.

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