Archaic Pilgrimage: W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, a Post-Jungian Perspective
Carole Standish Mora
Date, Time & Place:
January 27, 2021 at
This study explores, develops, describes and engages with the concept of archaic pilgrimage as it is mythopoetically enacted in W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn (1998). This text is mined for the archetypal aspects of trauma as it surfaces within melancholy. Particular attention is given to the way memory engages us with history, facilitating a necessary descent into the deeper experience of mourning. The concept of archaic pilgrimage is explored as an existential psycho-spiritual journey of discovery within this larger context of history, which like the individuation process, arises from a teleological vital principal that leads to increased psychic integration without necessarily bringing closure. As an example of what C. G. Jung referred to as visionary literature, this study explores his idea that certain literature helps us make our way back to the deepest springs of life. While applying Jungian active imagination as an interpretive approach this study experientially researches how the additional themes of travel, katabasis and alchemy serve as containers for the application of Jung’s theories to this literary text. This research functions as Jungian and post-Jungian literary criticism that might be valuable for a wide variety of readers, psychologists, analysts, as well as writers.
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- Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, Track N, 2013
- Chair: Dr. Susan Rowland
- Reader: Dr. Clifford Mayes
- External Reader: Dr. Peter Arnds
- Keywords: Dionysian Self, Historical Subject, Imaginal Ego, Individuation, Post-Jungian Literary Criticism, Mythopoesis, Pilgrimage, The Rings Of Saturn, W. G. Sebald.