The Jungian Shadow in Literature and Philosophy
My book analyzes the theme of the Jungian shadow in the 19th century literature, using psychoanalytical phenomenology, comparative literature and the philosophy of literature. Focusing on literature, philosophy and psychology, my research is interdisciplinary. In the first chapter, which is dedicated to analytic psychology, I have followed the philosophical basis of the Jungian archetypology, and the corresponding description of the process of individuation. The persona and the shadow, the two contrasting archetypes, were examined from the perspective of analytical psychology and existentialist philosophy (a necessary comparison with philosophers such as Heidegger, Sartre, and others). In the second chapter, which considers some preliminary theoretical issues, we have referred to two sub-themes of the shadow, the double and the demonic. The third chapter, the most extensive one, concerns the constellation of the Jungian shadow in the literature of the 19th century. I have chosen seven romantic and post-romantic literary works. Hoffmann’s The Devil’s Elixirs (1815) is read as a poem of fire, built upon the clash between religion and sexuality. In the section regarding Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) I have focused on the theme of romantic isolation and the phenomenology of hatred, where I have noticed a similarity between the “antihumanism” of the “monster” and the philosophy of Emil Cioran. The section dedicated to Poe’s William Wilson (1839) contains an original reading of the story, based on the “anarchetype” of the “super-shadow.” The reading of Dostoevsky’s Double (1846) discusses what we have called the destruction of the principle of identity and a sort of ontological estrangement of the main character. Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) concerns the disjunction of identity and the decomposition from fin du siècle of the concept of a unitary Ego. Maupassant’s Horla (1887) was analyzed in the context of the phenomenology of anxiety and post-human evolutionism. Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) becomes, in my reading, a Kierkegaardian allegory of the Fall. The fourth chapter discusses the shadow in philosophy and the debate between Jung and Nietzsche. I have also referred to some of the shadows of the over-man: the buffoon, the dwarf, the ape, the soothsayer, the last pope, the ugliest man and the “shadow”.
In the following paper I will argue that there are interesting connections between the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Gustav Jung, and the school of existentialism. Analytical psychology and existentialism share almost the same Zeitgeist (becoming influential between the 1930's and 1960's) and are both interested in the concept of individuality. I would like to follow the liaison between Jung and existentialism regarding authenticity and death. First of all, the concept of authenticity deserves extensive treatment. Heidegger's das Man and Sartre's mauvaise foi have an interesting companion in Jung's notion of the persona, the psychological concept of "the mask". Second of all, existentialist authenticity can be compared to the Jungian integration of the shadow. Moreover, the concept of death (Heidegger's Sein-zum-Tode) can be compared with Jung's understanding of death from The Red Book.
Despite the fact that Mary Shelley and E. M. Cioran have never been previously analyzed in the same context (they belong not only to different ages but also to divergent genres), we will find that they share at least two similar themes. The motif of solitude, common among Romantic poets (Coleridge, Byron, Poe), finds a deep expression in Shelley’s Frankenstein and in Cioran’s early oeuvre. A more thorough investigation of the British novelist and the Romanian-French self-described “anti-philosopher” discloses that hatred (a theme that is not frequently researched from a philosophical point of view) might be another of their obsessions. The concept of the nihilistic not-man becomes useful when we will follow the tripartite shape of hatred (of others, of myself and of God) not only in literature or philosophy but also in pop culture.
Găsim la Slavoj Žižek o introducere plastică şi expresivă în problema dualităţii: "Am putea spune că dublul mă întrupează pe mine însumi dar fără dimensiunea castrată a Eului meu." Întotdeauna celălalt din mine însumi este latura forte a personalităţii mele, pe care o refulez şi o ţin sub control, în aşa fel încât masca mea se va prezenta ca o atenuare a fiinţei mele interioare. Astfel, dublul va fi înţeles ca non-eu, anti-eu sau eu alternativ: dublul e "fratele meu de umbră", surghiunit în tenebrele inconştientului, în infernul de energie pură la care se referea William Blake, în cazanul freudian "plin de excitaţii clocotinde." Relaţiei dintre dublu şi Eu îi corespunde în psihologia analitică raportul dintre umbra şi persona (înţeleasă ca "mască a sufletului" şi ca ramificaţie a Eului care conectează fiinţa umană cu alteritatea). În proza romantism şi post-romantism (la Edgar Allan Poe, Dostoievski, Maupassant, Wilde şi alţii), problema dualităţii sau cea a raportului dintre eu şi anti-eu este tratată cu măiestrie mai ales în contextul a ceea ce am putea numi astăzi destrucţia principiului identităţii: desfiinţarea psihologică a principiului logicii clasice care ar putea fi rezumată prin formula "eu nu sunt eu", descoperirea stranietăţii interioare ori spargerea nucleului Eului într-o multitudine de fărâme disjuncte şi anarhice.
Maupassant's short horror story Horla (1887) contains a treatment of anxiety that can be analyzed in the context of Existentialist philosophy: Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Levinas or Cioran all observed the anticipatory trait of this affect. From a psychological point of view, anxiety leads to neurosis and/or psychosis, to the splitting of the principle of identity. This inner duality is famously expressed in the short story's scene of the " empty mirror " , where the main character fails to see his own reflection. The descent into madness of Horla's diarist makes us think that he experiences the possession of the monster in terms of radical alterity, something that Cioran has called the not-man. I argue that through the lenses of this category of (psychological and theological) inhumanity we can understand Horla as a Nietzschean evolutionary tale that cautions against the end of mankind as we know it.
Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) becomes especially interesting when one analyzes it through the hermeneutical lenses of The Garden of Eden complex. The comparison between Dorian's decreation and the Fall of Adam and Eve was not yet researched taking into consideration the Hegelian-Kierkegaardian insights about " lost innocence " and " revolutionary freedom ". I have also investigated the ideal of " total existence " proposed by Lord Henry Wotton and his Symbolist eulogy of Beauty. Moreover, the Jungian concept of the shadow was used to explain the dynamics between the two main characters of the novel. The destruction of ethics, which reminds us of Nietzsche and Rimbaud and the final Kierkegaardian collapse of aestheticism transforms Oscar Wilde into a complex author who deserves a thorough philosophical analysis.
In the following paper we explore the shadow archetype (a term we have taken from C. G. Jung) of the vampire in three movies influenced by Bram Stoker's modern gothic novel, Dracula (1897). Analyzing three scenes from the horror movies Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922), Nosferatu, Phantom der Nacht (1979) and Dracula (1992) we gain insight in the true nature of the vampire: his oscillation between demonism and inhumanity; his beastly devotion to natural necessity; the destruction of his shadowy character by the anima.
The Jungian conflict between the persona ("the mask of the soul") and the shadow (a sort of "counter-persona") is, from a philosophical perspective, akin to the dialectic between appearance and essence or, in a more existential fashion, similar to the difference between falseness and authenticity. Starting from a suggestion made by V. Dem. Zamfirescu, we will compare C. G. Jung's persona with J. P. Sartre's bad faith and Martin Heidegger's das Man. If the persona were a mask mediating between the Ego and the external world, the shadow would be an interface between the Self and the Ego. Remembering that Nietzsche (not only S. Freud and A. Schopenhauer) deeply influenced Jung in the constitution of the shadow, we will evaluate it in comparison with one of the key terms of Nietzschean nihilism, the last human being.
Starting from a new definition of existential paranoia, conceived philosophically as an altered form of solipsism or theologically as the revelation of an immanent inferno, we go on to explore the dissociative constitution of Dostoevsky's novella, The Double (1846). Influenced by the Shakespearean " I am not what I am " , Yakov Petrovich Goliadkin, the main character, builds an intriguing attack on the Jungian category of the persona, which we read as a symptom of indifferentiation. We will also analyze hero's nightmare, where the conflict between the Ego and the Doppelganger receives a tragic dimension, attempting to evaluate Goliadkin 1 and Goliadkin 2 through Jungian typology. Insights from Philip K. Dick, Emil Cioran, Rainer Maria Rilke or Mihai Eminescu will help us scrutinize the ambiguous and intricate " paranoid feeling of being " .