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The Grail Legend (Mythos: The Princeton-Bollingen Series in World Mythology) [Paperback]

Emma Jung , Marie-Louise von Franz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 Oct 1998 Mythos: The Princeton-Bollingen Series in World Mythology

The Holy Grail and its quest is a legend that has had a powerful impact on our civilization and culture. The Grail itself is an ancient Celtic symbol of plenty as well as a Christian symbol of redemption and eternal life, the chalice that caught the blood of the crucified Christ. The story of the Grail sheds profound light on man's search for the supreme value of life, for that which makes life most meaningful.

Writing in a clear and readable style, two leading women of the Jungian school of psychology present this legend as a living myth that is profoundly relevant to modern life. We encounter such universal figures as the Fool (the naive young Perceval), the Wise Old Man (the Hermit Gornemanz), the Virgin Maiden (Blancheflor), the Loathly Damsel, and such important themes as the Waste Land, the Trinity, and the vessel of the Grail. Weaving together narrative and interpretation, the authors show us how the legend reflects not only fundamental human problems but also the dramatic psychic events that form the background of our Christian culture. Emma Jung--analyst, writer, and wife of the famous psychologist C. G. Jung--researched and worked on this book for thirty years, until her death in 1955. Marie-Louise von Franz, also eminent in the field of depth psychology, completed the project.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (25 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691002371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691002378
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Back Cover

"The Grail Legend is a beautifully sustained application of Jungian theory to a whole story rather than merely to isolated motifs or archetypes. The work is far better researched than many other Jungian studies, and is written with a spritely, charming touch. A delightful volume."--Robert Segal, University of Lancaster, editor of Jung on Mythology and The Gnostic Jung

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THE GRAIL LEGEND is an especially stimulating subject for psychological consideration because it contains so may features that are also to be found in myths and fairy-tales. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Emma Jung 23 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Arrived on cue, well packed. I am fascinated to read this, a subject matter that keeps re-awakening interest in modern man. I am intreagued to see what the redoubtable Emma thinks of the legend.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely thorough and inclusive approach to the Grail legen 8 Jan 2005
By C. B Collins Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz have produced a very comprehensive analysis of the legend of the Holy Grail legend. Jung spent over 20 years collecting the background information. Von Franz spent 15 years pulling together the final manuscript which was published after Emma Jung's death.

The book explores the historic origin of the legend in both Welsh/Celtic and Christian legend. The legend appears to integrate 3 influences: the legends of the early Welsh/Celtic people who were driven into the hills by the Saxon invaders, the Christian legend of the grail and the stone covering the grave of Christ, and the major shift in Western consciousness regarding the role of women around the reign of Henry II and Eleanor of Acquitaine.

The story is about the heroic actions and adventures of the fool knight, Perceval, that are needed to heal the wounded Fisher King and revive his famine plagued kingdom. Much of the book explores all the images and multiple variations around this myth.

The legend would imply that in all men a wounded Self(Fisher King) limits and shuts off the powers and creativity of the archetypes and other unconscious forces. The healed Fisher King is a strong Self, the king of the unconscious, who can navigate and attract unconscious forces and influences. The beautiful woman, the Anima, acts as a messenger between the ego consciousness and the unconscious. The Grail is the site where the opposites are united, the personality becomes whole,the internal struggles against opposing forces within the self stops, and thus the healing of the King (Self) is at hand. Each of the psychological constructs: ego, consciousness, unconscious, archtype, shadow, anima, animus, Self, etc. are shown in the characters and various props/objects within the legend.

Students of the legends of King Arthur and the Round Table will find this to be a very scholarly study of the particular tale of Perceval and his search of the Holy Grail. The Round Table is connected to the two preceeding tables - the table where Christ held the Last Supper with his disciples and the table that becomes the Altar for the Holy Communion.

Students of pre-Saxon Britian will find this work to identify multiple primitive Celtic and Welsh myths and legends.

Students of Jung will find this legend actually is able to encompass almost all the major constructs of Jungian theory into one comprehensive legend. Jung identifies the Self as the part of the personality through whom God speaks. This makes sense if we see the Self as the king of the unconscious, a land of symbol and archetype. If the Self is wounded, the land of archetype and symbol is barren and thus the voice of God is not heard. But when the Self is healed, God is able to speak through the language of image, myth, archetype, and symbol. The heroic knight is able to heal the wounded King by asking whom the Grail serves. The Grail is the site where opposing forces are united and integrated and thus tension and internal conflict is reduced or eliminated. Jung and von Franz also point out that the Grail, the stone over the grave of Christ, the philosopher's stone, and the legendary figure of Merlin all are capable of playing the role of the site where the opposites come together to bring about wholeness. When wholeness occurs, the Fisher King is healed. When the Fisher King (the Self) is healed, the land is no longer barren but bursts with growth of instincts, symbols, myths, images, archetypes, allowing God to come fully into the personality. This is called salvation in Christian culture and enlightenment in other cultures. Carl Jung offers an amazingly rich theoretically constructed human personality with such internal consistency that he was able to explain most all human ocnditions from mental illness to religious salvation using his constructs.

I recommend this book highly, supplement your reading with other books by Carl Jung as you read, but your quest for your own Holy Grail is worth the effort.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inner Grail Quest 11 Aug 2000
By Michael P. McGarry - Published on Amazon.com
Emma Jung, Carl Jung's wife, made a lifelong study of the Grail Legend, preparing for this book. After her death in 1955, her project was completed by Marie-Louise von Franz, the most pre-eminent of Carl Jung's disciples and one of the most respected expositors of Jungian psychology. This book, a Jungian analysis of the Grail Legend, is regarded as a masterpiece. What is the Grail Legend about? In a word: meaning. It is how the Fool, Perceval, finds the Holy Grail and thus rescues the suffering Fisher King from his non-life in the Wasteland. This book explains how that story, with its triumphant conclusion, can take place in each one of us. For anyone fascinated by the Grail and curious about its relevance to life today, there simply is no better book than Jung & Franz's study.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't find a more complete reference on The Grail myth 20 Jan 2004
By L McCullough - Published on Amazon.com
I've used this book countless times for research, pondering and contemplation and teaching. I come back to it often, because some of the references are so obscure that it took years to run into the situation that related back to the story. But it's all good. Carl Jung specifically steered clear of the Grail Myth because it was understood that it was Emma's territory. By reading it you can tell that it's a lifetime collection. If you are looking for Cliff notes on the grail story, this is not your book. If you are looking for an in depth source for pursuing the meaning(s) behind the Grail then it's a must have.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Deep Analysis of a Very Deep Matter +++ 11 Sep 2005
By Kevin Kiersky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found "The Grail Legend" by Emma Jung [and M. L. von Franz] to be very thoughtful and detailed. Likely, the Holy Grail was a main concern for most of Emma Jung's life. One can readily see why Carl Jung viewed that subject matter as his "wife's turf". "Animus and Anima", also by Emma Jung, is an excellent little summary of Jungian Psychology with a focus on Animus and Anima. In contrast, "The Grail Legend" is so deep and detailed, that I found myself having to review several Jungian works to "keep up". Namely, "Animus and Anima", "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious" and "Aion". The last two works being by Carl Jung. Very interesting and even inspiring for those interested in Jung, Grail, Merlin, Arthur, Celtic and Celtic Christian subjects from before the "Dark Ages" until the "Present".
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey to the Inner Grail 14 May 2001
By Mr. - Published on Amazon.com
Robert Johnson said it best, "We each have but to walk down the path and turn left to find the Grail Castle. It's simply being conscious enough to know when the time has come to enter the Grail Castle." I love the story of Perceival so very much. Not only because it mimics so much of my own personal spiritual quest but also because of the hope it gives Western man. We have only to ask the question to heal the Fisher King, not know the answer. The question, "Whom does the grail serve?" is enough.
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