Archetype (199 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Editors
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


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A term which becomes central in the psychoanalytic theory of Carl Jung (q.v.) after 1919, and which in the 1960s achieved a slightly different currency in literary criticism, thanks to the work of Northop Frye.

Carl Jung proposed that from birth the human unconscious is stocked with primordial dispositions to compose images of certain kinds, for example the figure of the father, the mother, the brother, the sister. The man as seen by the woman is the “animus”; the woman as seen by the man is the “anima”, and each archetype is deeply infuenced by the paternal or maternal relation. These archetypes are also internalised respectively as the maternal side of the man and the paternal side of the woman.

Northop Frye, i…

Editors. "Archetype". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 January 2008
[, accessed 08 December 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Psychoanalysis