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Samuels, A. (1983). Hillman, J. Archetypal Psychology: a Brief Account. Dallas, Spring, 1983. Pp. 88. N.p.. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(4):389-390.
(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(4):389-390
Hillman, J. Archetypal Psychology: a Brief Account. Dallas, Spring, 1983. Pp. 88. N.p.
Review by: Andrew Samuels
Edited by: Corinna Peterson
This summary of the main ideas and practices of archetypal psychology was originally written as a chapter for an Italian psychological encyclopaedia. For this reason, we may experience James Hillman in a far less rhetorical vein than usual. There are gains and losses in this; the main advantage is that being reflective towards his own oeuvre has produced in Hillman the kind of didactic clarity that he usually scorns, and which many readers will find very helpful in a further understanding of his books. For those who have not yet read Hillman and the archetypal school, or who are unaware of the impact on analytical psychology, the book will be a fine introduction.
Hillman makes it clear that archetypal psychology has a basal concept (archetype), an area of interest (image), its vehicle (mythology), and a Weltanschauung (polytheism). In addition, a precise level of experience is postulated where these factors operate and coalesce—soul.
The term ‘archetypal psychology’ came into use in 1970. In Hillman's view, the concept of archetype is the most fundamental area of Jung's work, but this could not have been apparent when the title ‘analytical psychology’ was coined. Although Jung is the major influence, Hillman has been at pains to seek out historical precursors of his thought from within a ‘Southern’ and Mediterranean tradition of philosophy: Plotinus, Ficino, Vico. In more recent times, the Islamic scholar Corbin (who first used the term mundus imaginalis) and the philosopher Casey have made important contributions.
In archetypal psychology the emphasis is on the image itself.
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