From Library Journal
One need not be a Jungian to appreciate this fine book as both a reference and a contemporary introduction to symbolism. Psychiatrist Stevens (Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming, LJ 3/15/96) treats the specialist or lay reader to a brilliant integration of psychological archetypes with Darwinian theory. Symbols, a "natural Esperanto," transcend ethnic and linguistic boundaries while absorbing and reflecting cultural (as well as biological) influences. Stevens draws heavily on Jung but goes beyond him, making effective use of philosophy, semiotics, biology, and dream research. His "Thesaurus" (over 300 pages) is divided into four parts: Physical Environment; Culture and Psyche; People, Animals, and Plants; and The Body. Stevens presents vast learning easily and precisely in prose that is at once calm and exciting. A bibliography rich with recent references, a glossary, and a separate symbol index combine to make this a standardAif not the standardAin the field; essential for most libraries.AE. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"This is a fascinating book, packed with ideas and out-of-the-way information. . . . a thesaurus of symbols. [Stevens] aim[s] to provide clues to the origin, meaning, and development of some of the most common symbols and, like Ariadne's thread, to trace connections between different parts of what seems like an impenetrable maze."--John Habgood, The Times Higher Education Supplement
"What sets this book apart from many others . . . is Stevens's viewpoint. He approaches symbols as an evolutionary psychologist . . . one who seeks to understand the biological reasons underlying our symbols. . . . [This] would be of interest to anyone who tries to understand themselves, whether they do it by biology, psychology, astrology, or tarot. The symbols are always there."--David Smillie, Discovery Channel
"One need not be a Jungian to appreciate this fine book both as a reference and a contemporary introduction to symbolism. A brilliant integration of psychological archetypes with Darwinian theory. . . . Stevens presents vast learning easily and precisely in prose that is at once calm and exciting. . . . [A] standard--if not the standard--in the field; essential for most libraries."--Library Journal (starred review)