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The Interpretation of Fairy Tales Paperback – Jul 9 1996
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From the Back Cover
Of the various types of mythological literature, fairy tales are the simplest and purest expressions of the collective unconscious and thus offer the clearest understanding of the basic patterns of the human psyche. Every people or nation has its own way of experiencing this psychic reality, and so a study of the world's fairy tales yields a wealth of insights into the archetypal experiences of humankind. Perhaps for foremost authority on the psychological interpretation of fairy tales is Marie-Louise von Franz. In this book - originally published as An Introduction to the Interpretation of Fairy Tales - she describes the steps involved in analyzing tales and illustrates them with a variety of European tales, from "Beauty and the Beast" to "The Robber Bridegroom". Dr. von Franz begins with a history of the study of fairy tales and the various theories of interpretation. By way of illustration she presents a detailed examination of a simple Grimm's tale, "The Three Feathers", followed by a comprehensive discussion of motifs related to Jung's concept of the shadow, the anima, and the animus. This revised edition has been corrected and updated by the author.
About the Author
Marie-Louise von Franz (19151998) was the foremost student of C. G. Jung, with whom she worked closely from 1934 until his death in 1961. A founder of the C. G. Jung Institute of Zurich, she published widely on subjects including alchemy, dreams, fairy tales, personality types, and psychotherapy.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book was extremely interesting. However it was tough to understand everything the author talked about without knowing something of Jungian psychology. I don't think you need to be an expert, but a basic understanding is required. She doesn't quite explain some of the concepts she addresses and it's up to you to tie everything together or do your own research.
That being said I still enjoyed the book a great deal even though I didn't quite get as much out of it as someone who knows more about Jungian psychology would have. She presents several fairy tales in their entirety and goes on to examine them.
The book is definitely worth getting if you are interested in the subject. It is also worth doing the bit of extra reading that might be required to fully understand everything that she is saying.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Von Franz has the knack of going to the essence of Jungian theory without some of the circumlocution that so many complain of in Jung's collected works. Fairy tales were her forte and she believed by analyzing fairy tales in terms of their collective, not their personal meaning, one would connect with the wisdom of the collective.
This books provides step-by-step instructions for doing fairy tale analysis according to the method of mythological amplification. She also provides examples of her own analysis of fairy tales.
Von Franz believes that all fairy tales are describing one psychic fact--that of the Self. (The Jungian Self includes both the individual self and the collective unconscious). The Self has so much complexity and variation that many different tales are necessary to describe it.
This is an important book that describes some of the basic tenets of Jungian psychology in an easy-to-read form. It is one I return to over and over in my exploration of symbolic material.
This particular book works as a strong introductory text to the work that Marie-Louise von Franz has done in her break down of fairy tales.
"The Interpretation of Fairy Tales" (up to 200 pages) is an useful work that analyzed fairy tales, starting with the history and theories of fairy tales, an enumerated scrutiny of "The Three Feathers," and finally, examinations of motifs as related to Jung's concepts of shadow, animus, and anima. I have found this work to be quite good introduction to an interpreting fairy tales, and it is quite valuable and an easy reading.
It is to be recommended.
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