The origins and history of consciousness

by Erich Neumann

Book, 1954



Call number


Call number



[New York] Pantheon Books [1954]

Original publication date


Physical description

xxiv, 493 p.; 24 cm

Local notes

The Origins and History of Consciousness draws on a full range of world mythology to show how individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as human consciousness as a whole. Erich Neumann was one of C. G. Jung's most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right. In this influential book, Neumann shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, the tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence, the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Kronomlo
A complicated but fascinating book that I will need to read one or two more times before the content really sets in. Overall, the content goes over how, starting at birth, a person becomes gains consciousness over their lifetime. While simultaneously describing this development alongside the
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journey of a hero, from the archetypal hero-journey from mythological stories.

A dense read but very much worth it.
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LibraryThing member DanielSTJ
A great text by Princeton Classics that touches on archetypes, Jung, theorists, and much more. There is a lot in here and the scope of this text is immense and should serve as an incredible amount of intellectual material for those to devour. I am one of the belief that it is important to
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understand the history and foundations of something to a great extent before delving further and this book accomplishes all that and more. Incredibly interesting and still, I believe, important to this date for what it tried to accomplish, this is a classic for the modern age.

4.5 stars- DEFINITELY recommended.
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