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OED, The Golden Bough, From Ritual to Romance, Archetypal Patterns in Poetry, Anatomy of Criticism

criticism symbol anthropological literature

a term used to describe an original model, symbol, or theme, which recurs in literature, myths, ritual, fairy-tales, etc. Jung introduced the term into psychology to mean ‘a pervasive idea, image or symbol that forms part of the collective unconscious’ (OED, 1972 Supplement). It also finds its way into literature via the anthropological work of J. G. Frazer (The Golden Bough, 12 volumes, 18901915) and Jessie Weston (From Ritual to Romance, 1920), who greatly influenced a number of Modernist writers. Literary criticism with a Jungian slant has devoted itself to detecting archetypal figures such as those of the Divine Child, the Earth Mother, and the Enchanted Prince. Anthropological criticism interests itself in recurring cross-cultural patterns and stories, like rituals of fertility and tales of dying and reborn gods. Critical works reflecting these approaches are Maud Bodkin's Archetypal Patterns in Poetry (1934) and Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism (1957).

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