Chapter 26. "Art as Archetypal Form" by C. G. Jung

Table of Contents
Ideas of Interest from "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry"
The Reading Selection from "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry"
Related Ideas
Topics Worth Investigating

Carl Gustav Jung, National Library of Medicine

About the author …

C. G. Jung (1875-1961) was reared in a clergy family; an intensive linguistic education together with long periods spent alone impressed the early years. In spite of his abiding interest in archeology, he studied medicine at the University of Basel while developing a fascination with psychiatry. After a close association with Freud, at a time when Freud was in disfavor, he soon found Freud's medical model, which presupposed sexual trauma to be the source of all neurosis, too restrictive and indelicate. Jung is, of course, is the founder of analytical psychology and is justly noted for his personality theory, including the dimensions of extroversion and introversion, the collective unconscious, including archetypes and cultural universals, and the theory of synchronicity, the postulation of significant coincidence of events. The heart of his psychology is his description of the person's fulfillment of meaning in life through the process of individuation.

About the work …

In his lecture "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry",[1] in 1922 to the Society for German Language and Literature, Jung points out that psychology has no insight into the nature of art; however, psychology can yield insights into the processes of artistic creation. Jung finds the Freudian approach to the analysis of art reductive and essentially an ad hominem dismissal of artistic significance. He finds that artistic works are of two kinds: those revealing signs (not symbols) from the personal unconscious of the artist and those revealing the symbols or archetypes of the collective unconscious of the human race.

Ideas of Interest from "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry"

  1. What aspects of art, according to Jung, are amenable to study by the methods of analytical psychology?

  2. How does Jung characterize Freud's reductive method of explaining artistic creation? What are Jung's criticisms of Freud's medical model?

  3. Clearly characterize the two classes of art work Jung distinguishes. Are there regulative principles or rules for artistic creation for both classes of works?

  4. Explain as clearly as possible Jung's doctrine of the collective unconscious and its expression in collective representations, primordial images, or archetypes. From what do such archetypes draw their power?

  5. According to Jung how are archetypal ideas related to allegory?

  6. What does Jung believe the "secret" of great art and its effect upon us to be? According to Jung, what are the origins of the social significance of art?



C. G. Jung. "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry." In British Journal of Medical Psychology. Translated by C.F. and H.G. Baynes. London. 1925.