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Psychological Symbolism in the Works of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath

Tectum,  2008, 132 Seiten, broschiert

ISBN 978-3-8288-9714-4

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“Of course, people have said from the time of the Greeks that insanity and genius are closely allied. In my wife’s case, I think one could see clearly that the two things were not disconnected.” Leonard Woolf - It is not due to literary genius alone that the extraordinary works of Sylvia Plath and her “artistic mother”, Virginia Woolf, have attracted readers for decades. Instead the tragic circumstances of their lives and deaths have raised as much interest as the artists´ writings themselves. Focusing on a selection of Woolf´s outstanding novels, such as Mrs Dalloway, To The Lighthouse and The Waves, and a comprehensive range of Plath´s works, from The Bell Jar to her poems and short stories, this work provides an integrative approach that overcomes the limitations of purely autobiographically inspired readings by setting their imagery against the backdrop of C. G. Jung´s theory of the archetypes of the collective unconscious. Since Woolf and Plath differed in the degrees to which they deliberately incorporated theoretical concepts of psychoanalysis in their texts, a comparative examination of their uses of psychological symbols traces both their personal developments and the acceptance of psychoanalytical assumptions in literature and beyond.