Three Approaches To Literature -- Archetypical - Feminist - Poststructuralist

Essay by poliesterCollege, UndergraduateA+, August 2008

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In this paper we are going to study three different approaches to literature: the archetypical approach, the feminist approach and the poststructuralist approach. To do so, we will first focus on some notions which will make the understanding of these critical approaches possible. Having commented these notions, we will contrast the aims of the three perspectives in which we are interested in this essay, as well as their procedures. Finally, we will try to clarify all these theoretical ideas with the exemplification of the three critical perspectives in several literary works in English.

First of all, we are going to expose some notions which will shed light on the aims and procedures used by the three critical approaches treated in this paper.

Among the most important archetypical critics, we should mention authors such as Robert Graves, Francis Fergusson, Philip Wheelwright, Leslie Fiedler, Northrop Frye, Maud Bodkin, and G. Wilson Knight. However, the most important figure for the development of this critical approach is Carl Jung.

Archetypical criticism is a form of criticism which is based on a theory developed by the author Carl Jung, who argues that "there are two levels of the unconscious: the personal, which comprises repressed memories that are part of an individual's psyche, and the archetypal, which comprises the racial memory of a collective unconscious, a storehouse of images and patterns, vestigial traces of which inhere in all human beings and which find symbolic expression in all human art". This means that the human psyche is able to produce archetypical images which are inherited by the successive generations. These archetypical images are grouped in the in the collective unconscious and are expressed in myths, religion, dreams, and private fantasies, as well as in the works of literature.

If Carl Jung's theory is...