La Luz y El Campanero: Symbolism in 1925 Burgos, Spain

 “ In the fields with which we are concerned, knowledge comes only in lightning flashes. The text is the long roll of thunder that follows.” [On the Theory of Knowledge, Theory of Progress] Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project The above photograph was taken from the bell tower in Burgos, Spain in 1925. This photo was included in a photo retrospective on Castilla Leon, published in the Spanish periodical El Pais, June 7, 2011. In Spanish, the bell tower is called el campenar and the bell-ringer is el campanero. Throughout Spain, bell towers are found in the central part of each town … Continue reading La Luz y El Campanero: Symbolism in 1925 Burgos, Spain

Joan Didion: Exercising Narrative Rights

C-Span Interview with Joan Didion In a 1996 C-SPAN Book TV interview, Joan Didion speaks about her body of written work. Incredibly the interview lasts for three hours and includes a huge space for viewers to call in and ask her questions. (As a side note, it is incredible to see such a large amount of time, audience participation, and interest in writing being dedicated by a network. What does this say about the change in audience participation and attention spans?) In this clip, Didion speaks specifically about her first experience of being published and her first encounter with the … Continue reading Joan Didion: Exercising Narrative Rights

Fairy Tales: Critical Theory and Archetypal Interpretation

The question of how to read a text has been asked and argued by theorists since the first work was offered to an audience for interpretation. Questions of what should be considered separable and inseparable from the review of the text are many, the stronger of which have developed into schools of critical theory. The initial debate in reading a text is over the precedence of form versus content. Though Aristotle began this debate, it became publicly popular in the 20th century because of the cultural critic Susan Sontag. Taking a firm stance, Sontag argued for the supremacy of form, … Continue reading Fairy Tales: Critical Theory and Archetypal Interpretation

Alchemy and the Hermetic Tradition: Mircea Eliade and Carl Jung

The relationship between Mythology and Religious traditions is an intricate weaving of metaphor. Both Mythology and Religion have a similar function of relating lived experience to a universal purpose. Often, religion relates life choices to divine models, while Mythology creates narratives that contextualize the experience. In many instances mythology and religion function simultaneously. However, a major distinction between the two traditions is that mythology is defined as an adaptive narration, and dogmatic perspective restricts religion to a lived mythic model. Though there is a wide continuum of religious interpretation ranging from orthodox to eclectic, as a lived mythology, religion is … Continue reading Alchemy and the Hermetic Tradition: Mircea Eliade and Carl Jung

Existentialism and Post-Modernism: Value in Lingering

Exhaustion, deconstruction, existential uncertainty–these are some of the qualities associated with post-modernism. Even the name suggests passing from a known state into ambiguity. In “Myth and postmodernist philosophy,” William Doty defines the challenges of postmodernism and mythology, while also provoking the complexity of interaction between the two perspectives as they engage in a conversation with the philosophical tradition. Specifically, these interactions are defined by Doty’s article, synthesized by the question of the role of narrative in philosophy, and actualized by Albert Camus’ 1942 essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”, and Jorge Luis Borges’ short story “The Maker,” published in 1960. The … Continue reading Existentialism and Post-Modernism: Value in Lingering

Modern Fairy Tales: Archetype vs. Stereotype

Since 1923 The Walt Disney Company has been making animated films, building theme parks, and accessing all other forms of entertainment. Much of the Disney Company’s box office success has come from their re-visioning of fairytales into animated events. Typical childhood memories include Disney’s renditions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, and many others. Marie Louis Von Franz describes the position of fairy tales in society in the following statement from The Feminine in Fairy Tales: Fairy tales express the creative fantasies of the rural and less educated layers of the population. They have the great advantage of being naïve (not … Continue reading Modern Fairy Tales: Archetype vs. Stereotype

Narrative and Myth: Exploring Identity through Mythopoesis

Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him. The reshaping of a myth into a contemporary form is one of the great challenges of 20th-century literature. The modernist poet and critic, T.S. Eliot wrote about the mythical method, which gave form and called on the archetypal power of the classics to serve as platforms for new works of art and thought. However, it is impossible to discuss the re-visioning of myth from the modern to post-modern literary periods, it is impossible not to speak of identity. Myth provides a context … Continue reading Narrative and Myth: Exploring Identity through Mythopoesis