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Archetypal Image of Human Existence
Carl Kerényi
Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim

Paperback | 1997 | $37.50 | £31.95 | ISBN: 9780691019079
184 pp. | 6 x 8 | 16 plates
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Prometheus the god stole fire from heaven and bestowed it on humans. In punishment, Zeus chained him to a rock, where an eagle clawed unceasingly at his liver, until Herakles freed him. For the Greeks, the myth of Prometheus's release reflected a primordial law of existence and the fate of humankind. Carl Kerényi examines the story of Prometheus and the very process of mythmaking as a reflection of the archetypal function and seeks to discover how this primitive tale was invested with a universal fatality, first in the Greek imagination, and then in the Western tradition of Romantic poetry. Kerényi traces the evolving myth from Hesiod and Aeschylus, and in its epic treatment by Goethe and Shelley; he moves on to consider the myth from the perspective of Jungian psychology, as the archetype of human daring signifying the transformation of suffering into the mystery of the sacrifice.


"A sterling example of classical scholarship, literary exegesis, and cultural inference. . . . Not only does this book tell us much about man, through his prototypical image, but also much about the Greek civilization which created Prometheus in its image."--Contemporary Psychology

Table of Contents:

List of Plates
I Who Is Goethe's Prometheus? 3
II The Titanic, and the Eternity of the Human Race 19
III The Prometheus Mythologem in the 'Theogony' 33
IV Archaic Prometheus Mythology 50
V Methodological Intermezzo 63
VI The World in Possession of Fire 69
VII The Fire Stealer 77
VIII The 'Prometheus Bound' 83
IX Prometheus the Knowing One 93
X The Promethean Prophecy 107
XI 'Prometheus Delivered' 112
XII Conclusion after Goethe 129
Abbreviations 134
List of Works Cited 135
Index 145

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Carl Kerényi:


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Hardcover published in 1963

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