Beyond the Hero: Classic Stories of Men in Search of Soul

Beyond the Hero: Classic Stories of Men in Search of Soul

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by Allan B. Chinen
     
 

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Some men yearn for an earlier time when heroes were honored by all, when patriarchs ruled over women and nations. But, deep in their souls, most men today know that they cannot turn back the clock. Together in small groups, or alone in their own hearts, they are seeking a path beyond traditional male hegemony, beyond the solitary hero - a path toward a vital yet… See more details below

Overview

Some men yearn for an earlier time when heroes were honored by all, when patriarchs ruled over women and nations. But, deep in their souls, most men today know that they cannot turn back the clock. Together in small groups, or alone in their own hearts, they are seeking a path beyond traditional male hegemony, beyond the solitary hero - a path toward a vital yet compassionate masculinity. This quest is not a recent invention, a result of the men's movement or of feminism. Instead, it has appeared in tales throughout history. As Dr. Allan Chinen tells these stories - from France, Morocco, Germany, Italy, Russia - readers will meet archetypes such as the wizard, the hunter, the shaman, and especially the Trickster. These male figures are healers rather than heroes, communicators rather than conquerors, explorers rather than exploiters. They are fierce but avoid violence; they are independent but related to the feminine; they are wild but nurturing. Beyond the Hero points the way toward a deeper, seasoned masculinity, and offers both men and women the hope of a more authentic way of life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The high point of this analysis of male maturation is the fairy tales that psychiatrist Chinen uses to explore his theme. The tales range from simple life lessons, like the fate of the only barber capable of trimming the hair of a goat-eared king without laughing, to the almost surreal journeys of Lustig, a former soldier who is unknowingly befriended by Saint Peter. Chinen's explications often seem a rehash of the theories of Carl Jung, Robert Bly and others who have written about male archetypes. Chinen quotes freely from his sources and sometimes draws on both his personal experiences and his work as a therapist. His main thesis is that these tales deal with the midlife point of the male maturation process, when a man moves from being a trickster to being a patriarch. As a modern example, Chinen cites the Bohemian Club, a male-only group that once a year carries on festivities in the California wilderness. The final story traces the formation of modern culture. In analyzing it, Chinen makes questionable statements--such as that boys are more active than girls ``from birth''--and then issues a disclaimer, calling his own interpretation of the facts ``another myth.'' (Aug.)
Pat Monaghan
Many books issued in the wake of Robert Bly's "Iron John" have taken as their assumption that the best male archetypes are the most common ones. Thus, we've seen various retreads of Jesus and Napoleon, the two archetypal characters who are also the most popular alter egos for the insanely deluded. But finally, here is a book that does more than scratch the surface of the subject. Male archetypes are more various, not just kings and warriors, Chinen argues. Convincingly bolstering his contention, he tells the stories of tricksters and spirit brothers, brothers and teachers, and he suggests a vision of men's spiritual quest that enriches rather than exploits the world. This book dramatically enlarges the literature on masculinity.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874777376
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
09/15/1993
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
0.10(w) x 0.10(h) x 0.10(d)

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