Archetypal literary criticism

Archetypal literary criticism is a type of analytical theory that interprets a text by focusing on recurring myths and archetypes (from the Greek archē, "beginning", and typos, "imprint") in the narrative, symbols, images, and character types in literary works. As an acknowledged form of literary criticism, it dates back to 1934 when Classical scholar Maud Bodkin published Archetypal Patterns in Poetry.

Archetypal literary criticism's origins are rooted in two other academic disciplines, social anthropology and psychoanalysis; each contributed to literary criticism in separate ways.[citation needed] Archetypal criticism peaked in popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, largely due to the work of Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye (1912-1991). In the 2010s, archetypal literary criticism is no longer widely practiced; there have not been any major recent developments in the field (with the possible exception of biblical literary criticism[1]), but it still has a place in the tradition of literary studies.[2][3]


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