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Re-Visioning Psychology Paperback – June 19, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This book is about soul-making. It is an attempt at a psychology of soul, an essay in re-visioning psychology from the point of view of soul. This book is therefore old-fashioned and radically novel because it harks back to the classical notions of soul and yet advances ideas that current psychology has not even begun t consider. Because the soul cannot be understood through psychology alone, our vision even leaves the field of psychology as it is usually thought of, and moves widely through history, philosophy, and religion.

About the Author

The pioneering imaginative psychology of James Hillman that soon will span five decades has entered cultural history, affecting lives and minds in a wide range of fields. For the creativity of his thinking, the originator of Archetypal Psychology and author of A Terrible Love of War; The Soul's Code; and The Force of Character has received many honors, including the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic. He has held distinguished lectureships at Yale, Princeton, Chicago, and Syracuse Universities, and his books have been translated into some twenty languages. The American public showed its appreciation of his approach to psychology by placing his book, The Soul's Code, at the top of the bestseller list of serious works of nonfiction. Of his many books, Spring
Publications has published Anima, Loose Ends, Archetypal Psychology:

A Brief Account, Pan and the Nightmare, Suicide and the Soul,

Insearch, Oedipus Variations (with Karl Kerenyi), The Thought of the

Heart and the Soul of the World, Inter Views, and Lectures on Jung's

Typology (with Marie-Louise von Franz). He lives in Connecticut.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (June 19, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060905638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060905637
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hillman boasts in his foreword that this book is packed with ideas. He was being humble. It will take several rereads to fully savor all the things he has said and all the things he has intentionally left for our imagination to grasp and intuit. This is one of the few 20th century books I have come across that does indeed deal with psyche-ology--understanding the soul. The closest contender I have seen is Rollo May's "Love and Will." After reading Hillman other works read like elementary textbooks.
Many may be repelled by Hillman's seeming anachronistic and animistic return to gods, daimons, and personifications; as if taking the field of psychology on a regress. Hillman may even seem to some as living in a fantasy world concocted out of what he's read between Plato and the Renaissance period. But this is not mere atavism on his part, to revive a nostalgic time and worldview. As Hillman states in his latest book "The Soul's Code" we need only fall madly in love to admit of a daimonic possession. Gods--archetypes--animate us. Some gods may be dead but many others certainly are up to the task of roiling us.
Hillman is a master writer. He is effusive as any scribe of the soul should be. He is poetic and mythic; he provokes the reader and evokes a litany of images and connections. Helmsmen Intuition and Imagination are continually steering Hillman's hand. If there are contradictions in this work then they are most welcome, and even sought. How else can it be? Simple sciences breed simplistic answers. Something as complex as the soul and as great as the imagination cannot but procreate that which to Logic appears as contradictions. And so his style and objective as he admits is to confuse and confound rather than reduce and ground (in the empirical and, therefore, to a halt). There can be no pat and final answers or theologies of the soul and the gods, and Hillman makes certain of that.
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Format: Paperback
For those of you not put off by James Hillman's obviously ornate writing style, this book is an excellent place to turn if a deeper understanding of archetypal psychology is your desire. Hillman is as hard to read here as he is elsewhere, but he's hard to read with a purpose: since part of his thesis is that metaphoric and mythic language is more alive than "conceptual" language, he spends much of his time writing mythically and metaphorically. If you have no patience with poetry, avoid Re-visioning Psychology. However, if you are willing to indulge Hillman and allow yourself to experience his ideas in your heart (and soul) and not exclusively in your head, then give this book a try.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the great classics born out of the crossing between psychology and mythology. Indeed, one might even say this was the LAST such classic, for there have been very, very few great books on mythology produced since this came out in the mid 1970s.

Hillman is a Jungian, but a refreshingly nihilistic one who does away with the theory of Individuation, mandalas, the ego - Self axis and other such baggage. What interests Hillman is strictly the archetypes because for him, the archetypes essentially are the gods -- the Greek gods -- hiding in the modern world. Hillman's interest in mythology, it should also be said, is exclusive to Greek and Roman myth: you will not hear him making references to Hindu or Chinese deities. Ever. For Hillman, mythology means Greek myth and that is both one of his failings and his strengths.

The key idea of "Re-Visioning Psychology" is Hillman's notion of what he calls "psychologizing," in which he says, quite simply, that "there are gods in our ideas." Hillman has a knack for cracking open concepts -- scientific or otherwise -- and coaxing the runny yellow gold of the gods to come forth. Ideas in the mind, he says, often conceal mythological archetypes as their indwelling inspiration. Darwin's theory of evolution, for instance, involves the archetype of the Great Mother and her dying and reviving consort; Locke's theory of the mind as a tabula rasa, or empty slate which requires experience to fill it up, is really a disguised version of the myth of Sleeping Beauty, waiting for her prince to wake her up; Freud's theory of the ego and the Id is really a version of the hero myth, in which the solar warrior hero descends into the underworld in order to conquer it. Where Id was, there shall ego be.
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Format: Paperback
I think Jung would have appreciated the irony: in a way this book both completes and thoroughly undermines the Jungian project. At least that's how it worked for me.
Hillman is a genuinely wise man (I do hope he never reads this, or if he does, that he forgives me for saying so! :-). Yes, he is certainly a poet, a mythologist, a psychotherapist, a thinker, an iconoclast, a scholar etc, etc... But above all, he is a wise man -- a shaman, a guide. In this book he turns his gift for "seeing through" to the subject of psychotherapy itself. I can only describe the result as an astonishing, erudite, profoundly beautiful and ultimately liberating dance, in which Hillman, on our behalf, engages (and disengages!) himself with the psychological stuff of psychotherapy. This is healing of the highest order, and I never expected to encounter it in such an accessible form.
Having read this book, I can no longer think of Psyche in terms other than those of polytheistic "seeing through". And I can no longer read any books on psychotherapy, except through Hillman's playful, re-visioning eyes -- no, not even Jung, nor Hillman himself. The circle is complete. The thesis and anti-thesis have combined into synthesis, and in the four-step magical dialectics, got transmuted into a new totality. Where do we go from here? I have no idea, but it will be somewhere else.
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