Dissertation Title:

Hemingway’s Curse Reimagined: A Depth Psychological Analysis of His Fiction


Lisa Bostian

Date, Time & Place:

September 7, 2023 at 2:00 pm


American canonical writer Ernest Hemingway created fictional portrayals of war and masculine themes.  His lifelong battle with depression and family history of suicide has led to a fascination with the author’s personal life.  This inherited psychological legacy could be considered a curse.  However, this study suggests that the curse can be understood as the cultural narrative that promotes the ideal image of masculinity that is portrayed in Hemingway’s life and works.  In effect, the curse is the pressure of narrow cultural stereotypes rather than the fullness and complexities of real archetypal expression.  This research examines ways that Hemingway reimagined masculinity to include the feminine in many of his stories.  His work addressed and revised the curse of normative masculinity, whether or not he saw it that way.  A hermeneutic approach and methodology are utilized to examine the archetypal patterns and universal aspects that expand upon ideas connected with psychological transformation and individuation.  The literature is read with a depth psychological sensibility that evokes symbolic images that inform imaginative contemplation of psychological suffering and depression.  To inform this research, Jung’s literary categories, psychological and visionary, are employed, as Rowland (2010) suggested, as types of reading that provoke an imaginative attitude toward both signs and symbols.  Further, ideas about the numinous, sublime, and abject are explored as ways to describe experiences with the unknowable, the Other. Sublime and abject are examined and amplified as a brief encounter with the unknown that works as a bridge toward an experience of the numinous, the Self.  Lastly, Jung’s notion that polarities promote conscious growth is utilized as a springboard for exploration of the tension between opposites.  These oppositions are amplified as an image of psychological transformation and thus symbolic in nature.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, N, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Susan Rowland
  • Reader: Dr. Daniel Polikoff
  • External Reader: Dr. Terence Dawson
  • Keywords: Hemingway, Archetypes, Depth Psychological, Signs, Symbols, Sublime, Abject, Numinous