• Matthew A. Fike


The Collected Works of C. G. Jung culminates in a 732-page index that includes only eight entries on Shakespeare, which reference passages in only two of his plays—Julius Caesar and Macbeth. The little genuine value in Jung’s comments on these plays suggests that the greatest psychologist of the early twentieth century, whose erudition takes a whole volume just to catalog, seems relatively unaware of the world’s greatest literary mind.1 Jungian psychology would be substantially different and richer if Shakespeare had influenced Jung in the way that Sophocles inspired Freud, but psychology’s loss is literary criticism’s opportunity. Even today, more than seventy years after the publication of the first notable Jungian literary criticism by Maud Bodkin,2 some relevant Jungian concepts remain unapplied to Shakespeare, and some of the existing Jungian studies are neither totally accurate nor sufficiently thorough. There is clearly much more to be said, and this study will not be the last ever published on Shakespeare and Jung.


Collect Work Literary Criticism Conscious Life Unconscious Material Conscious Attitude 
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  1. 2.
    Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns in Poetry: Psychological Studies of Imagination (London: Oxford University Press, 1934), 217–30, 280–81.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For previous discussion of Jung’s work on literature, see James P. Driscoll, Identity in Shakespearean Drama (Tewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1983), 10–14;Google Scholar
  3. Sitansu Maitra, Psychological Realism and Archetypes: The Trickster in Shakespeare (Calcutta: Bookland Private, 1967), 64–105;Google Scholar
  4. Morris Philipson, Outline of a Jungian Aesthetics (Tvanston, IT: Northwestern University Press, 1963);Google Scholar
  5. Susan Rowland, Jung as a Writer (London: Routledge, 2005), 1–23;Google Scholar
  6. and Richard P. Sugg, ed., Jungian Literary Criticism (Tvanston, IT: Northwestern University Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Steven Mullaney, The Place of the Stage: License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 24.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Adrienne Rich, “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision,” in Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers, ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky, 6th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002), 635.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    The survey that follows emphasizes selected criticism written since 1980. For earlier work, see Jos Van Meurs and John Kidd, Jungian Literary Criticism, 1920–1980: An Annotated, Critical Bibliography of Works in English (with a Selection of Titles after 1980) (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    Alex Aronson, Psyche & Symbol in Shakespeare (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972), 96. See also CW 9i, 20/44.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    H. R. Coursen, The Compensatory Psyche: A Jungian Approach to Shakespeare (New York: University Press of America, 1986);Google Scholar
  12. and Johannes Fabricius, Shakespeare’s Hidden World: A Study of His Unconscious (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1989).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ibid., 146–48; and Weston A. Gui, “Bottom’s Dream,” American Imago 3–4 (1952–53), 276.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sally F. Porterfield, Jung’s Advice to the Players: A Jungian Reading of Shakespeare’s Problem Plays (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1994). For Rogers-Gardner, see above, note 1.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Edward F. Edinger, The Psyche on Stage: Individuation Motifs in Shakespeare and Sophocles (Toronto: Inner City Books, 2001).Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    Kenneth Tucker, Shakespeare and Jungian Typology: A Reading of the Plays (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2003);Google Scholar
  17. and Ryder Jordan-Finnegan, Individuation and the Power of Evil on the Nature of the Human Psyche: Studies in C. G. Jung, Arthur Miller, and William Shakespeare (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Meilen Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  18. 21.
    Steven F. Walker, Jung and the Jungians on Myth: An Introduction (New York: Garland Publishers, 1995), 102.Google Scholar
  19. 22.
    Edith Kern, “Falstaff—A Trickster Figure,” Upstart Crow 5 (1984): 135–42;Google Scholar
  20. Roy Battenhouse, “Falstaff As Parodist and Perhaps Holy Fool,” PMLA 90 (1975): 32–52;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. and Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (New York: Riverhead Books, 1988), 270–314.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (New York: Philosophical Library, 1956). “On the Psychology of the Trickster Figure” is reprinted in CW 9i, 456–88/255–72.Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    James Hillman, Anima: An Anatomy of a Personified Notion (Dallas: Spring Publications, 1985), 105–7. The term “‘femme à homme” comes from CW 9i, 355/199 and seems to be the opposite of “homme à femme” (ladies man).Google Scholar

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© Matthew A. Fike 2009

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