The Risk of Authenticity: Jung's Transcendent Function in examples of Women's Visual and Literary Practice

PhD Thesis

Duncan, Andrea 2001. The Risk of Authenticity: Jung's Transcendent Function in examples of Women's Visual and Literary Practice. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Art and Design
AuthorsDuncan, Andrea
TypePhD Thesis

In this thesis an investigation of Carl Gustav Jung's transcendent function will be undertaken in relation to women's processes of individuation. These processes will be
examined through creative activity in the visual and literary arts. The work of a number of women artists and writers will be considered in order to understand better,
the particular qualities of the transcendent function within creative practice and its importance to women's individuation.
In the examination of the transcendent function within women's creative activity, the role of visual metaphor will be emphasised in its capacity to carry a specific
articulation; feminine and phenomenological, which addresses issues of gender in women's individuation.
In exploring the historical and contemporary context of the transcendent function as it relates to both the imaginary and rational capacity of the psyche, as Jung understood
it, the early influence of Immanuel Kant's transcendent within the Critique of Judgement will be considered. This will include reference to contemporary revisions of Kant, undertaken by Luce Irigaray and Christine Battersby.
An important development in the thesis will be the concept of phenomenological ecriture. With this concept we will re-visit the position of the mother in issues of women's individuation by considering a conscious, early rapport of the infant with the maternal face. This argument, supported by references to the earlier work of D.W Winnicott, Helene Cixous and Julia Kristeva, will be developed and expanded upon by the further consideration of what women's selfhood might entail if a retrieval of the maternal regard includes an archetypal component. Here, C.G Jung will be referred to again, as will James Hillman and the later work of Luce Irigaray.
Throughout, and with reference to both Kant and Jung, the aesthetic and moral issues within the transcendent will be investigated in relation to women's exploration of self
through creative forms of individuation. In considering the aesthetic, references will be made to the phenomenological philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and a number of particular references within the work of Walter Pater, Roland Barthes and Adrian Stokes. Using particular case studies in women's visual and literary practice, a
further perspective is brought to bear on current issues within both Jung's concept of individuation as it relates to women, and within feminist aesthetics and its prevailing
understanding of the language and forms of women's authentic articulation.

KeywordsCarl Gustav Jung's transcendent function; Women artists and writers; Women's visual and literary practice
Publication dates
PrintMar 2001
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Mar 2014
Additional information

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