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Cry for Myth - Rollo May


Published: 25th March 1993
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RRP $27.95

A discussion of the relationship between myths and the subconscious.

Here, psychotherapist May (My Quest for Beauty, 1985, etc.) relates Western society's apparent moral and spiritual breakdown to its paucity of powerful myths, offering illustrations from case histories in his own files and in the news. "I wanted to go home," May quotes Robert Chambers as saying when Chambers described his feelings after killing Jennifer Levin in New York's Central Park. The plaint strikes May as particularly poignant when "home" is defined as a supportive, enclosing structure of communal myths. In the late 20th century, May says, as old Western myths fall by the wayside and few arise to take their place, young people find themselves in a kind of spiritual and metaphysical chaos. Deprived of a sense of meaning by parents too busy to concern themselves with such things, many Americans, May contends, suffer a terrible emptiness and undefined need that translate into an increase in suicide, depression, violence, and amorality. Pointing out the present inadequacies of some basic American, Western, and universal myths - e.g., the myth of the "new" frontier, the Horatio Alger drama of success, and the Peer Gynt conflict between demanding a woman's admiration and desiring her care - May marks the gradual collapse of America's mythical structure from the jazz age (and Gatsby's futile dream of self-re-creation) onward. Possibilities lie in evolving ideas such as the Gala myth, inspired by space flight, and the "Briar Rose" version of the Sleeping Beauty tale, in which the female is a "being in the process of becoming" and the male succeeds not through physical conquest but through "creative waiting"; such ideas, the author says, may yet save humanity's soul. Thought-provoking and persuasive. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780285631335
ISBN-10: 0285631330
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 25th March 1993
Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 13.5 x 21.6  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.39
Edition Type: New edition