You think' no worthless boy, you matricidal I am have offspring and that doubt, that you "1o. You flom your father's estate!
And like all the best pantomimes, it ends with a wedding. Imitations and adaptations are beyond count. To draw out one tangled skein: The German "collector" J. Another Scot, Robert Chambers who was a co-founder of the dictionary firm, claimed in his "collection" 'Popular Rhymes of Scotland' to have "fortunately recovered" the 'Black Bull', giving it in two different versions, both pretty obviously his own work.
Tolkien, who, while acknowledging its identity with 'Cupid and Psyche', took 'The Black Bull' as the central example of a 'eucatastrophe', or happy ending, in his essay 'On fairy-stories', As such 'The Black Bull' is the pivot of Tolkien's theory of fantasy, its authenticity accepted without question by generations of Tolkien "scholars".
Neumann, on the other hand, takes a psychoanalytical tack. He was a student of Jung and in his time considered an expert on feminine psychology.
Like other classics of the field 'Amor and Psyche' was translated from the German by Ralph Manheim and published by the Bollingen Foundation. From the point of view of Psyche, the central character, the story may be said to split into two parts.
There is a "Freudian" part, Beauty and the Beast, which Neumann calls "The Marriage of Death"; inviting comparison with the mediaeval art-motif and Schubert lyric 'Death and the Maiden'. Then there is a "Jungian" part, Psyche's tasks, set to her by the "bad mother" Venus. I can't resist pointing out that the third and fourth tasks, respectively fetching water from a spring guarded by dragons and a journey to the underworld, form the clear basis for another Chambers "recovery" - and William Morris novel - 'The Wal at the World's End'.
True to form, Chambers - as I presume - worked this up from Leyden's plot summary of a tale which the 'Complaynt' in fact titles - invoking a completely different set of associations - 'The Wolf at the Worldis End'.
But returning to Neumann's interpretation: Psyche's first task, sorting a pile of grains, represents "an unconscious principle which enables her to select, sift, correlate and evaluate, and so find her way amid the confusion of the masculine".
The second task, retrieving a wisp of wool from some extremely dangerous sheep, is Venus' attempt to place Psyche in the way of destruction through direct exposure to male sexuality, symbolised by Sun imagery.
The third task, with its dragons and spring feeding its own source the generative principle, endlessly recirculating is a straight steal of Jungian themes: The resolution finally achieved is seen by Neumann as a liberation of Psyche from the ancient, dominating matriarchy to a new, adult and still very feminine individuality.
As others more learned than I have commentated, it is an enchanting and stimulating read.Using the classic tale of Amor and Psyche from the Metamorpboses or The Golden Ass of Lucius Apuleius, Neumann illustrates an unusual study of feminine psychology within the framework of jung's depth psychology.
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