Topics Worth Investigating

  1. Jung distinguishes two classes of art: (1) those created "carefully considering the over-all result and paying strict attention to the laws of form and style," and (2) those with archetypal ideas appearing "only in the shaped material of art as the regulative principles that shape it." Jung explains that the second class of artwork involves the collective unconscious. Can both of Jung's types are art be subjected to Joshua Reynold's argued belief that the principles or rules of ęsthetic creation are not intuitive but are based on science?[1]

  2. Clarify Jung's use of "archetype" as an empirical entity. Jung writes concerning a "conceptual language" of archetypes:

    Only the beginning of such a language exist, but once the necessary concepts are created they could give us an abstract, scientific understanding of the unconscious processes that lie at the roots of the primordial images.

    Speculate as to what such a language and its genetic basis would consist in light of Jung's description of it in this reading.

  3. Trace out the parallels of Jung's use of the collective unconscious to explain mnemonic images or ą priori ideas as regulative principles or allegories, with Plato's use of reminiscence to discover Ideas or Forms as mnemonically recollected knowledge. For example, Plato writes:

    … and all the battles of the gods in Homer—these tales must not be admitted into our State, whether they are supposed to have an allegorical meaning or not. For a young person cannot judge what is allegorical and what is literal; anything that he receives into his mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts. [2]

    In this regard, M.H. Abrams states that one sense of "allegory" is "The allegory of ideas, in which the literal characters represent abstract concepts … the personification of abstract entities such as virtues, vices, states of mind, modes of life, and types of character…"[3]

  4. Jung writes that the essence of art is not necessarily due to individual genius, but, instead:

    The essence of art does not consist in the fact that it is charged with personal peculiarities—in fact, the more this is the case the less the question of art enters in—but that it rises far above the personal and speaks out of the heart and mind and for the heart and mind of humanity. The personal is a limitation, yes, even a vice of art.[4]

    If this were the case, try to reconcile Jung's intra-humanistic view of art with Roger Fry's view of purity of form:

    In proportion as are becomes purer, the number of people to whom it appeals get less. It cuts out all the romantic overtones of life which are the usual bait by which mean are induced to accept a work of art. It appeals only to the ęsthetic sensibility, and this in most men is comparatively weak.[5]

Notes

[1]

Joshua Reynolds. "Discourse VII: Delivered to the Students of the Royal Academy on the Distribution of the Prizes, December 10th, 1776, by the President." Seven Discourses on Art. London: Cassel. 1901.

[2]

Plato. The Republic. 360 B.C. in The Dialogues of Plato Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975. 378d-e.

[3]

M.H. Abrams. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace. 1993.

[4]

C.G. Jung. Psychological Reflections. Edited by Jolande Jacobi. New York: Pantheon Books. 1953. 177.

[5]

Francis Spalding. "Art and Life." In Vision and Design. London: Chatto Windus. 1920. 181.