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Archetypal Critical Theory
Transcript of Archetypal Critical Theory
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founding voices and texts
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Application and Connection
analysis of pop culture (meg)
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The basic Tenets :
BASIC PREMISES OF ARCHETYPAL THEORY:
1. The critic is at the center of interpretive activity, and the critic
functions as teacher, interpreter, priest, seer. Criticism is a structure
of thought and knowledge in its own right.
2. The critic works inductively by reading individual works and letting
critical principles shape themselves out of the literature; that is, the
critic examines the individual work to ascertain the archetypes underlying
3. Literary taste is not relevant to literary criticism.
4. Ethical criticism is important; that is, the critic must be aware of
art as a form of communication from the past to the present.
5. All literary works are considered part of tradition.
6. Like mathematics, literature is a language that can provide the means
for expressing truths. Verbal constructs (i.e., the works of literature)
represent mythical outlines of universal truths.
found at: note nohttp://www.intech.mnsu.edu/bunkers/archetypal_theory.htm
("Arch" means chief or principle- as a prefix it means " highest" or " most important" . type is taken from the Latin word for image . )original model or type after which similar things are patterned.
In literature: recurrent, universal pattern that evokes a deep emotional response in the reader
ARCHETYPAL OR "MYTH" CRITICISM:
Because archetypal critics believe that humans experience reality in terms of certain basic fears, desires, images (symbols), and stories (myths), they assume that writers will inevitably employ such patterns; that audiences will react to them forcefully and almost automatically; and that critics should therefore study the ways such patterns affect writers, texts, and readers.
Archetypal criticism is concerned with the way cycles and reiterating patterns of tradition, culture, inborn images,
and beliefs affect literary works. It operates with the idea that certain symbols represent the same ideas no matter
the time or place. Authors focus on symbols to utilize in literary works in order to strike readers’ unconscious.
Such symbols recur often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one’s literary experience as a whole. It also deals with symbolism of nature and the cosmos. There is universality in literature, anthropology,
Archetypal criticism focuses on certain symbols and their meanings. Looks for the meaning in literary works, as well as what the symbols in the story stand for. acts as a powerful tool in teaching and in expressing universal feelings, beliefs, and ideas. closely linked with psychological theories and criticism. Explains why literature touches deep inside the heart of the reader. Why we get such an emotional response
Many critics are leery of the actual value of the archetypal approach; they seem to think it is reductionistic,
formulaic. It generally excludes other sources or criticisms. Others believe that literary individuality is ignored with
so much emphasis on cycles and patterns. Not all literature contains symbolism; some is simply written for
enjoyment. Some critics argue the theory is unnecessary because archetypal approaches to literature can also be
covered in psychology, anthropology, comparative religion, and other fields. Symbols can elicit multiple meanings;
one might interpret a literary work that is entirely different from the author’s intentions. This criticism has been
used less frequently in recent years.
Archetypal Psychology : ( refer to word doc- meg has)
- collective conscious
- not what one sees but how one sees it
- helps to distinguish between other theories
Vico, and Plotinus
- First to propose the theory of archetypal criticism
- Thought that humanity has a "collective unconscious" which allows us to recognize archetypal patterns in stories (the hero, the innocent, the sage, etc.)
- Jung founded the idea that this unconscious mind was shared by everyone which conflicted with the ideas of Freud and other critics of this time
- Published Anatomy of Criticism (1957)
- literature as an "autonomous language"
- Decided that the principle of literature was that it was made of primitive story formulas.
- literary archetypes can be classified by genre and these genres seem to correspond to the seasons of the year and life cycle of humanity
- Proposed that there are four types of plots (called mythoi)
- Comedy (spring)
- Romance (summer)
- Tragedy (fall)
- Satire (winter)
- Focuses on analysis of archetypes
In the chapters, "When in Doubt, It's Shakespeare… "," … Or the Bible" , "Hanseldee and Greteldum", "It's Greek to Me", "Yes, She's a Christ Figure too", and "Interlude: One Story" Professor Foster explains the different archetypes and where they originate. He heavily enforces they message that all stories feed off of one another and all literature from the past and from today all stems from a few primary sources such as Shakespeare, the Bible, folklore, and mythology. Archetypes such as the tragic hero, the damsel in distress, the joker, the villain, the Christ figure are all present and are first recorded in these types of literature
- batman verses superman
A "Hero's Journey" represents individuals' own psychological growth as they confront features of their personal and collective unconscious in order to grow, mature, and fulfill their potential as human beings.
According to Joseph Campbell in the Hero with a Thousand Faces, “a hero is any male or
female who leaves the world of his or her everyday life to undergo a journey to a special
world where challenges and fears are overcome in order to secure a quest, which is then
shared with other members of the hero’s community.”
The development of the hero has changed with time. In its earliest form, heroes were
associated with religion or god-directed. Later they were more secular or military as seen
in Beowulf. Then with realism, they were realistic representations of their society.
Today, many are anti-heroes.
There are subdivision of the classic or epic hero such as epic hero, tragic hero, gothic
hero or romantic hero that developed overtime
the part of you that is hidden, out of the light, the sum of those characteristics you conceal from both the world and yourself.
he’s the part of us that wants to scare life’s bullies away.
hero/ God archetype (biblical references)
The Superheroic: Exaggerates the normal proportions of humanity; frequently has divine or
supernatural origins. In some sense, the superhero is one apart, someone who does not quite
belong, but who is nonetheless needed by society.
The intuition that there was more to the psyche than individual experience possibly began in Jung's childhood.
The very first dream he could remember was that of an underground phallic god.
Later in life his research on psychotic patients in Burgholzli Hospital and his own self-analysis later supported his early intuition about the existence of universal psychic structures that underlie all human experience and behavior.
Jung first referred to these as "primordial images" — Later in 1917 Jung called them "dominants of the collective unconscious."
1919 that he first used the term "archetypes" in an essay titled "Instinct and the Unconscious".
In Greek `arche' signifies 'beginning, origin, cause, primal source principle', but it also signifies 'position of a leader, supreme rule and government' (in other words a kind of 'dominant')
'type' means 'blow and what is produced by a blow, the imprint of a coin ...form, image, prototype, model, order, and norm', ...in the figurative, modern sense, 'pattern underlying form, primordial form'
In later years Jung revised and broadened the concept of archetypes
Jung proposed that the archetype had a dual nature: it exists both in the psyche and in the world at large.
He called this non-psychic aspect of the archetype the "psychoid" archetype.
analogy of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The archetype was not merely a psychic entity, but more fundamentally, a bridge to matter in general.
Term "unus mundus" to describe the unitary reality which he believed underlay all manifest phenomena.
He conceived archetypes to be the mediators of the unus mundus, organizing not only ideas in the psyche, but also the fundamental principles of matter and energy in the physical world.
Nobel laureate physicist Wolfgang Pauli
link between physical events and the mind of the scientist who studied them.
Thus the archetypes which ordered our perceptions and ideas are themselves the product of an objective order which transcends both the human mind and the external world.
The basic themes of human life emerge.
The archetypes are components of the collective unconscious and serve to organize, direct and inform human thought and behavior. Archetypes hold control of the human life cycle.
As we mature the archetypal plan unfolds through a programmed sequence which Jung called the stages of life.
Each stage of life is mediated through a new set of archetypal imperatives.
may include being parented, initiation, courtship, marriage and preparation for death.
"Thus, "the archetype of initiation is strongly activated to provide a meaningful transition ... with a 'rite of passage' from one stage of life to the next"
Although the term "archetype" did not originate with Jung, its current use has largely been influenced by his conception of it.
Stages of Life
How to Read Literature Like a Professor
by Thomas Foster
The big secret: There is only ONE STORY
Every piece of literature is growing and developing from another piece of literature and this growth and development does knows no genre
Plays allude to previous poems
Poems allude to previous novel
Etc. Etc. Etc……….
By forming parallels between literature through archetypes makes for an abundant understanding of the text while becoming more purposeful
Explains how different literary works and characters are connected through the demonstration of universal feelings and ideas
Discredits the originality of literary works
Symbols can have different meanings due to interpretation, so the use of archetypal critical theory discredits other meanings
In recent years, archetypal critical theory has been used less often.
Chapter 5: Now, Where Have I Seen her before
All literature comes from previous literature
"there is no such thing as a wholly original work of literature"
This does not make the work plagiarized because everything "borrowed" from another work should connect and make sense with the original aspects of the work
Writers must use former texts with purpose and meaning in their original pieces to so not to be misconstrued as plagiarism
Writers pulls from not only Biblical and Shakespearean references but historical as well
Basing characters off of real figures from history or previous text helps the reader to further understand the true meaning of the character
The reader can take the previous knowledge of that historical/alluded character and apply it to the given information of the character in the novel-- this gives the character more depth
need: relate archetypes more to human history (greeks good starting point)
More on school of thought ( Northrop)
application on pop culture
- student activity-
Human history and archetypes:
Greek myths in particular generally follow the monomyth structure
The hero receives a call to adventure
The hero must face a road of trials
The hero must survive a supreme challenge, with or without help
The hero receives a gift if he/she survives
The hero must return to the ordinary world, facing challenges on his/her return
The hero uses his/her gift to help improve the world
Very few myths include all of the steps, but many include a few
Examples: Buddha, Perseus, Theseus, Moses, and Jesus
Called to a journey by God
Travels to Egypt to bargain with the Pharaoh
Receives help from God in the form of the plagues
Escapes with the Jews after parting the Red Sea (more help from God)
Travels to the Promised Land with the Jews
SOURCE: THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES
Sir James Frazer
studied myths from different cultures and found that the stories and rituals differ in detail from time to place, but in substance they are the same