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Reviews415 Peters's efforts to broaden our concept of the conversion "figure" and to trace its development is, finally, original and quite important. But readers will have to decide for themselves what to make of his methodological emphasis on "reading autobiographically." For me, what was most provocative in this book seemed at times to have little to do with the primary texts under discussion. Lafayette CollegeEric J. Ziolkowski Exile and the Writer: Exoteric and Esoteric Experiences, A Jungian Approach, by Bettina L. Knapp; 253 pp. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991, $35.00. Bettina Knapp's Exile and the Writer is a tour de force, much of the force emanating from the tour of world literature on which she takes the reader. Knapp utilizes aJungian approach to explore the notion of exile in an array of works by authors from diverse nationalities, socioeconomic levels, and religious backgrounds: Dostoevsky's House of the Dead, Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, Huysmans's Against tL· Grain, Malraux's The Royal Way, Agnon's Edo and Enam, Kawabata's TL· Master of Go, Levi's Survival in Auschwitz, Garro's Recollections ofThings to Come, Beckett's That Time, and Cheng's King oftL· Trees. Despite the staggering range of works studied, Knapp's book is tighdy unified by the all-encompassing nature of the Jungian approach (which she explains clearly as the argument unfolds) and, especially, by her enlightening choice of the theme of exile. Knapp demonstrates convincingly that exile, whether voluntary or involuntary, exoteric (physical) or esoteric (psychological ), is not only a master theme that engenders and illuminates recurrent notions like deadi, rebirth, and creativity, but also a fundamental aspect of die human condition, indeed, for her, a principal archetype within the collective unconscious. While showing clearly the universal threads linking the various works, Knapp is able to respect and bring out the specificity of each text, due to several aspects of her approach that make her unique and foremost among Jungian scholars. Rather dian impose a universal symbolism on die text, she examines the activation of the archetype within the specific contexts constituted by the writer's personal history, the cultural or national environment, and the conventions and potentialities of the literary text. Thus Dostoevsky's response to his imprisonment in Siberia reflects not only his personal situation (death of the father) , but national traits (suffering as a "fundamental need of die Russian people") . Other essays that have the same power to relate individual, national, and universal crises are those on Conrad, Agnon, Levi, and Cheng. Another aspect of Knapp's approach that makes her work so rewarding to 416Philosophy and Literature critics of any persuasion is her sensitivity to the literary text and how it shapes the specific appearance of the archetype. Knapp is particularly adept at showing how certain objects and settings create images or visualizations of exile and indeed of the "inner geography" of the human psyche; striking examples include die labyrinthian prison in The House of the Dead, the anthill in Recollections of Things to Come, and the ruined tramway in That Time. Most convincing, perhaps, are those chapters where Knapp uses linguistic analysis to show how a given word or name can resonate simultaneously on all levels—the individual, the cultural, and the mythical—to wrest the archetype from the recesses of the unconscious and objectify it within the text; memorable instances are found in her brilliant essays on Conrad, Agnon, and Beckett. The reader ofPhilosophy and Literature will be particularly rewarded by Knapp's continuous examining of the very bases of her approach, the allusions to western philosophers from Heraclitus to Hegel, the discussion of time in Garro and Beckett, and the exposition of oriental philosophies in Kawabata and Cheng. Few critics can match either the breadth of Knapp's cultural background, which enables her to seize the most slippery of allusions, or her sensitivity to the human dimensions of the archetypes and works she explores. Any reader will be enriched by the experience of reading Exile and the Writer. The conclusion she derives from the ten fictional works may well be applied to her illuminating critical study of them: "By evaluating the meanings...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 415-416
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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