The resurgence of myth in the 1970s in the poetry of Ted Hughes and R.S. Thomas : a Jungian perspective
This thesis attempts to introduce Jungian concepts to the study of poetry through a critical examination of the poetry written in the 1970s by Ted Hughes and R.S.Thomas. My Introduction examines two contrasting approaches to literature, the mythical and the historical, defines myth, and introduces aspects of a Jungian approach to literature, including the many-angled approach and analogy. Chapter One explains the Jungian concepts of the Archetype and the Collective Unconscious in a discussion of Crow, and also explores the mythological material relevant to the poems of Crow. Chapter Two deals with the Jungian idea of Compensation, and brings this, as well as the idea of the archetype and the collective unconscious, to bear on the mythological material relevant to Gaudete. Chapter Three introduces Jung's Individuation process and discusses the mythological sources of Cave Birds, in particular Ancient Egyptian myth and Alchemy. At the end of the chapter there is a brief discussion of Jung and Hughes, acting as a sort of conclusion to my discussions of Hughes. Chapter Four uses the philosophy of Kierkegaard to explore the 1970s poetry of R.S.Thomas within a Jungian framework which includes ideas of the archetype, the collective unconscious, compensation and individuation. Jung's idea of Psychological Types is also briefly explored in this chapter. Chapter Five finds in Gnostic literature clear parallels with R.S.Thomas' poetry, and, using the Jungian concepts already mentioned, goes on to suggest that R.S.Thomas attempts to modify Christianity in accordance with the beliefs of the Gnostics. My Conclusion finds that many of the authorities quoted in this thesis call for a reorientation of society along the lines of the mythologies discussed in earlier chapters, and goes on to suggest that there is an unexplored unconscious history of the West.