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Ariadne's Clue: A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind
     

Ariadne's Clue: A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind

by Anthony Stevens
 
For centuries people have expressed their preoccupations and concerns through symbolism in the form of myths, stories, religions, and dreams. The meaning of symbols has long been debated among philosophers, antiquarians, theologians, and, recently, anthropologists and psychologists. In Ariadne's Clue, distinguished analyst and psychiatrist Anthony Stevens explores the

Overview

For centuries people have expressed their preoccupations and concerns through symbolism in the form of myths, stories, religions, and dreams. The meaning of symbols has long been debated among philosophers, antiquarians, theologians, and, recently, anthropologists and psychologists. In Ariadne's Clue, distinguished analyst and psychiatrist Anthony Stevens explores the nature of symbols and explains how and why we create the symbols we do.

Editorial Reviews

John Habgood
This is a fascinating book, packed with ideas and out-of-the-way information. . . . a thesaurus of symbols. Stevens aims to provide clues to the origin, meaning, and development of some of the most common symbols and, like Ariadne's thread, to trace connections between different parts of what seems like an impenetrable maze
The Times Higher Education Supplement
Library Journal
One need not be a Jungian to appreciate this fine book both as a reference and a contemporary introduction to symbolism. A brilliant integration of psychological archetypes with Darwinian theory. . . . Stevens presents vast learning easily and precisely in prose that is at once calm and exciting. . . . A standard--if not the standard--in the field; essential for most libraries.
David Smillie
What sets this book apart from many others . . . is Stevens's viewpoint. He approaches symbols as an evolutionary psychologist . . . one who seeks to understand the biological reasons underlying our symbols. . . . This would be of interest to anyone who tries to understand themselves, whether they do it by biology, psychology, astrology, or tarot. The symbols are always there.
Discovery Channel
Booknews
Considering symbols "living entities with a life-cycle of their own" (that is, their meanings evolve rather than remain fixed), Stevens (a Jungian analyst and psychiatrist) begins this reference by exploring the origins, psychology, and use of symbols. The thesaurus that follows is arranged thematically, and individual symbols are examined in detail; but the author offers the caveat that individuals should examine their own personal meanings for a particular symbol before reading what he has to say about it. Small pen & ink illustrations enhance the presentation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
Discovery Channel
What sets this book apart from many others . . . is Stevens's viewpoint. He approaches symbols as an evolutionary psychologist . . . one who seeks to understand the biological reasons underlying our symbols. . . . [This] would be of interest to anyone who tries to understand themselves, whether they do it by biology, psychology, astrology, or tarot. The symbols are always there.
— David Smillie
The Times Higher Education Supplement
This is a fascinating book, packed with ideas and out-of-the-way information. . . . a thesaurus of symbols. [Stevens] aim[s] to provide clues to the origin, meaning, and development of some of the most common symbols and, like Ariadne's thread, to trace connections between different parts of what seems like an impenetrable maze.
— John Habgood
The Times Higher Education Supplement - John Habgood
This is a fascinating book, packed with ideas and out-of-the-way information. . . . a thesaurus of symbols. [Stevens] aim[s] to provide clues to the origin, meaning, and development of some of the most common symbols and, like Ariadne's thread, to trace connections between different parts of what seems like an impenetrable maze.
Discovery Channel - David Smillie
What sets this book apart from many others . . . is Stevens's viewpoint. He approaches symbols as an evolutionary psychologist . . . one who seeks to understand the biological reasons underlying our symbols. . . . [This] would be of interest to anyone who tries to understand themselves, whether they do it by biology, psychology, astrology, or tarot. The symbols are always there.
From the Publisher

"This is a fascinating book, packed with ideas and out-of-the-way information. . . . a thesaurus of symbols. [Stevens] aim[s] to provide clues to the origin, meaning, and development of some of the most common symbols and, like Ariadne's thread, to trace connections between different parts of what seems like an impenetrable maze."--John Habgood, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"What sets this book apart from many others . . . is Stevens's viewpoint. He approaches symbols as an evolutionary psychologist . . . one who seeks to understand the biological reasons underlying our symbols. . . . [This] would be of interest to anyone who tries to understand themselves, whether they do it by biology, psychology, astrology, or tarot. The symbols are always there."--David Smillie, Discovery Channel

"One need not be a Jungian to appreciate this fine book both as a reference and a contemporary introduction to symbolism. A brilliant integration of psychological archetypes with Darwinian theory. . . . Stevens presents vast learning easily and precisely in prose that is at once calm and exciting. . . . [A] standard--if not the standard--in the field; essential for most libraries."--Library Journal (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691004594
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/08/1999
Series:
Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology Series
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.43(h) x 1.56(d)

What People are Saying About This

Anthony Storr
Stevens has a unique capacity for relating myths and symbols to the way our psyches function today, thus bringing symbols alive rather than dismissing them as historical curiosities. He is also a stylish writer, and is able to link his conclusions from a variety of fields into a consistent, readable whole.
Anthony Storr, University of Oxford
Anthony Storr, University of Oxford
Stevens has a unique capacity for relating myths and symbols to the way our psyches function today, thus bringing symbols alive rather than dismissing them as historical curiosities. He is also a stylish writer, and is able to link his conclusions from a variety of fields into a consistent, readable whole.

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