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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook, narrated by William Roberts, explores the evolution of consciousness through the archetypes and myths that are universal to all humanity.

The Origins and History of Consciousness draws on a full range of world mythology to show how individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as human consciousness as a whole. Erich Neumann was one of C. G. Jung's most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right. In this influential book, Neumann shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, the tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence, the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.

Featuring a foreword by Jung, this Princeton Classics edition introduces a new generation of listeners to this eloquent and enduring work.

©1949 Erich Neumann (P)2020 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

"No better exposition has come to us of the two Jungian themes: the evolution of consciousness in the history of mankind and the development of personality in the individual." (The Personalist)

"A welcome source of information for all those who are touched by the relationship between man and his myths." (The New York Times)

"There can be no doubt that [Neumann] has brought to his task a remarkable...knowledge of classical mythology, some considerable acquaintance with the comparative study of religion, and a deep understanding of those psychological views and theories evolved by C. G. Jung." (The Times Literary Supplement)

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My first book on the topic

I should first say this book is about the psychoanalytic origins of differentiation as an individual from the great wholeness, not about consciousness as we know it today as brain science. I enjoyed this very much. The narration has a certain grandiosity that suits the writing style. The second appendix was excellent and this part in particular I will have to go back and listen again. I liked his take on Freud’s Oedipus complex, which isn’t really about boning your mom after all, and he considers Freud to be wrong. It’s a very heady intellectualised book from the mid 1900’s but if you are so inclined then I would recommend it.

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