In this book, Steve Gronert Ellerhoff explores short stories by Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut, written between 1943 and 1968, with a post-Jungian approach. Drawing upon archetypal theories of myth from Joseph Campbell, James Hillman and their forbearer C. G. Jung, Ellerhoff demonstrates how short fiction follows archetypal patterns that can illuminate our understanding of the authors, their times, and their culture. In practice, a post-Jungian ‘mythodology’ is shown to yield great insights for the literary criticism of short fiction.
Chapters in this volume carefully contextualise and historicize each story, including Bradbury and Vonnegut’s earliest and most imaginatively fantastic works. The archetypal constellations shaping Vonnegut’s early works are shown to be war and fragmentation, while those in Bradbury’s are family and the wholeness of the sun. Analysis is complemented by the explored significance of illustrations that featured alongside the stories in their first publications. By uncovering the ways these popular writers redressed old myths in new tropes—and coined new narrative elements for hopes and fears born of their era—the book reveals a fresh method which can be applied to all imaginative short stories, increasing understanding and critical engagement.
Post-Jungian Psychology and the Short Stories of Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut is an important text for a number of fields, from Jungian and Post-Jungian studies to short story theoriesand American studies to Bradbury and Vonnegut studies. Scholars and students of literature will come away with a renewed appreciation for an archetypal approach to criticism, while the book will also be of great interest to practising depth psychologists seeking to incorporate short stories into therapy.
Table of Contents
1. A Post-Jungian Mythodology for Reading Short Stories 2. War’s Shadow: Vonnegut’s Conflicts with Arms 3. Fragmented Independence: Vonnegut’s Critiques of the American Trinity 4. Dynamic Domesticities: Bradbury Splits the Nuclear Family 5. Hope for Wholeness: Bradbury’s Heliocentric Individuation 6. Epilogue: Golden Apples of the Monkey House
Steve Gronert Ellerhoff is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University, and he also holds an MPhil in Literatures of the Americas and a PhD in English from Trinity College, Dublin. Currently, along with Philip Coleman of Trinity College, Dublin, he is co-editing George Saunders: Critical Essays, the first book-length work of criticism on the author. A scholar and writer of fiction, his literary efforts include Time’s Laughingstocks and Tales from the Internet, a story collection. Another novel, The Hedgehog’s Dilemma, is forthcoming.
"Ellerhoff’s fascinating post-Jungian analysis of these stories not only situates these texts within the broader theoretical framework of archetypal psychology, but he also carefully contextualises them within the unique historical moment of post-war America."
- Miranda Corcoran, Journal of the Irish Association for American Studies