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The Collected Works of Marie-Louise von Franz is a 28 volume Magnum Opus from one of the leading figures in Jungian Psychology. The first volume, Archetypal Symbols in Fairytales: The Profane and Magical Worlds, released on the author’s 106th birthday, January 4th, 2021 and is to be followed by 27 more volumes over the next 10-12 years. Volume 2 examines the hero’s journey, whereas Volume 3 explores the maiden’s quest. Five of the 28 volumes have already been released with an anticipated schedule of 2-3 new volumes per year. Volume 8 should be released in the next few months.
Von Franz was a renowned authority on fairytales, dream interpretation and the analysis of the unconscious. She was an original thinker whose body of work presents a wide-ranging and systematic approach to a psychology of the unconscious and the archetypal symbols that appear in fairytales, dreams, and alchemy.
At the age of eighteen, while still in high school, Marie-Louise von Franz met the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung at his Bolingen Tower. She later described this as the most decisive encounter of her life. She entered analysis with him months later, completed her doctorate in classical philology and began seeing her first analytical patients soon after. She acquired a deep understanding of the unconscious and developed a far-reaching expertise in fairytales, alchemy, synchronicity and numbers. She is estimated to have personally analyzed over 65,000 dreams. She was a prolific writer and a highly sought-after teacher.
Volume 3 turns to the Maiden’s Quest within fairytales.
The maiden/heroine navigates a complicated maze of inner and outer relationships as she builds a bridge to the unconscious. The heroine contends with the animus in many forms like a devouring and incestuous father, demonic groom, the beautiful prince, an androgenous mother, a cold dark tower, and through conflict with the evil stepmother.
Dangers and pitfalls await her as the conscious feminine strives to make connections with the unconscious masculine. The maiden is the undeveloped feminine and the promised fruit of her struggle with the animus is the coniunctio. Volume 3 is a masterwork of cross-cultural scholarship, penetrating psychological insight, and a strikingly illuminating treatise. With her usual perspicacity and thoroughness, von Franz gathers countless fairytale motifs revealing a myriad of facets to the maiden’s quest.
Von Franz’s prodigious knowledge of fairytales from around the world demonstrates that the fairytale draws its root moisture from the collective realm. This volume continues where Volume 1 left off as von Franz describes the fairytale, “suspended between the divine and the secular worlds (…) creating a mysterious and pregnant tension that requires extreme power to withstand.” The resistance of the great mother against the hero and his humble origins, as well as the hero freeing the anima figure from the clutches of the unconscious are universal archetypal patterns. The spoils retrieved by the hero symbolize new levels of consciousness wrested from the unconscious.