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Seligman, E. (1983). Herzog, Edgar. Psyche and Death (Death-Demons in Folklore, Myths and Modern Dreams). Translated by David Cox and Eugene Rolf. Spring Publications, Dallas 1983. Pp. 224. Paperback. N.p.. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(4):387-388.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(4):387-388

Herzog, Edgar. Psyche and Death (Death-Demons in Folklore, Myths and Modern Dreams). Translated by David Cox and Eugene Rolf. Spring Publications, Dallas 1983. Pp. 224. Paperback. N.p.

Review by:
E. Seligman

Edited by:
Corinna Peterson

This awe-inspiring book originated as a course of lectures at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zürich, which were subsequently published in German by Rascher-Verlag, edited by the Curatorium of the Institute. An English and American edition first appeared in 1967, published by Hodder and Stoughton and G. P. Putnams and Sons, New York, respectively.

Psyche and Death may, therefore, already be familiar to some readers. Perhaps it was more relevant when first published than it is in 1983. The face of the world, and hence of the collective psyche in particular, has undergone profound changes in the intervening years, especially, I think, as regards attitudes to death, and therefore to life. This statement, a generalisation, reflects the author's almost exclusively collective approach to his subject of death. However universal an event the cessation of life is, it is undeniable that any direct confrontation with absolute finality has a powerful, if not devastating, impact on individuals and their personal existence.

This book lacks a balance between the personal and the collective, and I therefore found it difficult to read; sometimes alienating, and certainly remote. Furthermore, I question whether the manifestations of the collective psyche are fixed, rigid and permanent. Do these not change, to some extent at least, with the times? If so, presumably the symbolic representations of the collective psyche also alter.

Psyche and Death consists of a two-part study; the first is concerned with fairytales, folklore and legends variously illustrating archaic death images which originally revealed themselves in the guise of animals as wolves, horses, dogs, snakes and birds.

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