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Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  649 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A renowned psychologist examines fairy tales through a Jungian lens, revealing what they can teach us about the darkest parts of human behavior and thinking

Fairy tales seem to be innocent stories, yet they contain profound lessons for those who would dive deep into their waters of meaning. In this book, Marie-Louise von Franz uncovers some of the important lessons conceale
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 7th 1995 by Shambhala (first published January 1st 1974)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  649 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Jaybird Rex
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Interested both in fairy tales/horrors, and in psychology of a Jungian sort, I came to this book with an open mind and a grain of salt. It's no light read and one does need to pick up the psycho-lingo on the way through. The author (or speaker, as it were) interprets the often cryptic symbolism of several strange fairy tales you probably don't know. She does so with ease, which may leave you with something between awe and a taste of that grain-of-salt skepticism mentioned above. At points, I fou ...more
Valentina Markasović
Yeah, maybe it's less about fairy tales per se, but if you want to read about how C. G. Jung once fed ducks in a pond and about similar excellent anecdotes, this book is for you!

+ some of the explanations and analogies were really flimsy
ספרן הלילה
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
An oldie, but a goody.
Katherine Sas
I probably learned more about Jungian psychology than about fairy tales, but there are definitely lots of interesting passages.
John Kulm
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and this author. As a close associate of Jung, she shares stories from her relationship with him throughout the book.

On the surface this book appears to be an explanation of Jungian views of metaphor and archetypes in fairy tales. But underneath it's like a mystical tome with clues about how to acquire magical abilities from archetypes and how to avoid possession by them.

Some quotes from the book:

“The shadow is simply the whole unconscious.”

“If one lived quite alone, it woul
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairy-tales
I have collected fairy tales for many years. If I had to rate the #1 person who has provided the most insight into these tales it is Marie-Louise Von Franz. These books, and there are a number of them, are fabulously insightful. Each one is hard to put down. I am sad that she has passed on and there will be no more.
Emily Johnson
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Von Franz's pov is a bit frustrating at times, but the book is worth it for the thought-provoking tales from international sources, and for the explanation of active imagination versus black magic. ...more
Jun 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Only when light falls on an object does it throw a shadow.

I'm finding myself more and more intrigued by the Jungian worldview, not so much because it feels right but rather because it feels mostly alien, despite being a wildly influential perspective just a few decades back. For me, it's somewhat similar to reading medieval analysis--the logic is so foreign that sometimes it seems totally incoherent--but the context is modern and much more familiar. Jung, von Franz, and their cohort have a wild
Maan Kawas
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another excellent book by the Marie-Louise von Franze which examines the shadow and evil in fairy tales. Von Franz stresses that "They [Fairy Tales] are so profound that one cannot explain them superficially; they require that one dive into deep water." ...more
James Curcio
Jul 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
A Jungian analysis of Fairy Tales. (Or is it the other way around?) Though many Jungian analyists have a "pat" method, von Franz recognizes that this is contrary to Jung's own intention in creating guideline concepts like the anima/animus, shadow, etc. As I had been hoping, she uses fairy tales as a method of showing the various ways that our inner lives can become tangled, or confusing, and sheds light on these through the examples provided by fairy tales. (This is contrary to the approach whic ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Have to be pretty into Jung to really enjoy this, I think.
Alanna Geare
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting comparative mythology but a little to self assured about Jungian methods of interpretation
Adrian Farrel
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not worthy of its reputation as an explanation of fairy tales

I think very carefully before posting anything less than a four or five star review of a book. "If you can't find anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all."

What is more, a book represents a serious emotional investment by an author, and a non-positive review is an attack (unsolicited and perhaps unwarranted) on the author's most precious creation.

However, sometimes a book has a reputation that exceeds its merits an
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
Some author always take you to a better understanding of the subject they discuss coz they have worked very hard theoretically and practically and have the ability to present in an interesting format.
Here, you learn the hidden archetypal behind the character of fairytale. Author dominates with her interpretation and utmost commanding in her expression.
You move a little higher in understanding the shadow behind every fairytale and how it was transmitting the real truth behind every character.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
The author clearly has such a command of this topic and reading this was very informative. It satisfied my curiosity on the topic and the fairy tales chosen throughout the text were new to me.
However, I felt I was reading a lecture where I was observing an expert speak, rather than feeling like a participant during the reading experience- held at arms reach. So it wasn’t as powerful as some non fiction reads for me that feel closer and more personal.
Janice Hila
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, intellectual study of the connection between fairy tales and Jungian psychology from someone who knew Jung personally. Take some ideas with a grain of salt, but very interesting and thought-provoking nonetheless.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I found this interesting to read, and it has some moments of sparking really deep thoughts for me. But it feels a bit disjointed overall. Some of the author's interpretations and conclusions seem very dated or forced (like the foot being a phallic symbol????) ...more
J. Sparks
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I closely study anything Marie-Louise von Franz has written. Actually this read of the book was a re-read. Her work stays fresh.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Although much easier to read than Jung (it was readable), this was too academic to hold my interest
F.J. Commelin
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
very well written
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This text is truly one of her classics. Van Franz can sometimes get mired in explicating myths over the course of 20 pages leaving very little room for theoretical development, but she provides a perfect balance in this work. This is a must have if you are an analytical psychologist.
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scholarly
Absolutely amazing, profound book.
Julien Carter MBGY
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rly interesting I found.
Joe Rodeck
Mar 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was expecting at least one fairy tale I might be familiar with. Not. Rambling lectures.

** not finish
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I strongly recommend reading of this book for someone who is interested in psychological subjects which are related to myths and stories.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales was not the book I was expecting it to be, but no less fascinating because of it. I was expecting a more general exploration at the concepts of darkness and evil in fairy tales, but instead Marie-Louise van Franz examines fairy tales from a Jungian/psychoanalytical perspective, focusing on Jung's concept of the shadow (a unconscious aspect or 'other half' of one's personality) and evil. As such Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales is more interested in what these tales a ...more
Eleanor Cowan
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Know yourself, examine yourself - find ways to acknowledge your anger and deal with it in respectful ways - otherwise, it will roil and boil and surface in powerfully unpleasant ways.

Recently, here in Calgary, Alta. a recent university psychology graduate stabbed five youth at an end of year gathering. Had he dealt with the issues bothering him, would this have happened?

The work of MLVF always reminds me that each of us has the capacity for great good - and great harm. Every time I read "a fai
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it

Not the book I was expecting but an interesting read nontheless . . .

Fairy tales observed here are obscure and unknown with too many generalizations but they show how evil is depicted in old folklore if only in a superficial way .

I interpret that the anima often referred here is the eros or unconscious desire - life pursuing itself - whereas the shadow represents the destructive forces hidden inside our mind : fear , destruction , violence , ugliness , frustration , death , etc.

Vices showing
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure I liked this book. Her analysis of various fairy tales was interesting, and her stories of various clients were interesting, but she made SO MANY SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS! And her tone was annoyingly smug. And I didn't like her dismissing the whole discipline of shamanism as schizophrenic individuals terrorizing their primitive societies with their own psychotic fantasies.

The Jungian symbolism in the tales was intriguing, and the way she related it to real life cases was good. In al
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
Most of the time the book reads more like a journal than like an interpretation of fairy tales. Franz jumps between her own experience with Jungian analysis (either as an analysand/analyst) and Jungian interpretation of fairy tales; she often disrupts the interpretation with her own comments on the problem/or throws in some highly admiring story about Jung, Jung's life, Jung's way of thinking.

If you are a great fan of Jung (and consider him a superstar), then the book is for you. If you are int
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Marie-Louise von Franz was a Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar.
Von Franz worked with Carl Jung, whom she met in 1933 and knew until his death in 1961. Jung believed in the unity of the psychological and material worlds, i.e., they are one and the same, just different manifestations. He also believed that this concept of the unus mundus could be investigated through research on the archetypes

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