On the History of the Unconscious II: The Literary and Philosophical Period (Medieval Christianity to Romanticism)

A Vital Recognition

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A shift from religion to literature of the conversation with the unconscious began with Chaucer. His main contribution was a change in vocabulary from the theological to the personal; from one of transcendent salvation to one of human relationships and emotion, characterized by changing the object of affection from God to other humans. This represented a new awareness of the depths of the human soul, especially in relation to events, both exterior and interior (Claxton 95-96). In a sense, this acknowledgement of the inner and outer represents a merging of the immanent experience of the divine from ancient religion with the transcendent and exterior image of the divine which had been ushered in during the axial age. The shift of vocabulary, representing a shift of thought and ways of engaging self and world was a correction of the deficiencies of both of the preceding methods of negotiating with the unconscious…

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