AFTERWORD: A Neumann Revival?
Most conferences come and go; and are then forgotten.
Sometimes, conferences have an afterlife; they may even represent a turning point in the field of enquiry. The eminent social and literary critic, Camilia Paglia , author of the acclaimed Sexual Personae (Paglia ) chose Neumann as her theme for the “Otto and Ilse Mainzer Lecture Series” sponsored by Deutsches Haus at New York University in November 2005. She called her essay, Erich Neumann: Theorist of the Great Mother (Paglia 2006). She described coming to read him as a graduate student as one of ‘my central, galvanizing discoveries’. She foresees ‘that Erich Neumann is the key for a future incorporation of Jung with academic life…an accomplished culture critic whose synthesis of art, history, and psychology offers a more promising direction for cultural studies than current approved academic models…(Paglia 2006, p.10). Analyzing his style, she says, “I would call Neumann’s philology Frazerian. Like Frazer (whose “mass of ethnological material” he cites), Neumann creates a vast, dream prose-poem, with startling and sometimes bizarre material floating in and out.” (p. 12). Neumann’s scholarship is itself an art form based on his ‘deep knowledge and intimacy with the arts. He is the supreme exemplar of the Jungian flair for the visual image.” (p. 12).
At the end of her essay, she describes a riveting discovery:
While writing this lecture for the Mainzer Series, I found (though the magic of the Web)
A rivetingly detailed article on Erich Neumann’s life and career by the Israel journalist Aviva Lori which was published earlier this year [28 January 2005] in the daily newspaper Ha’aretz. It was commission to coincide with a symposium held at Kibbutz Givat Haim Ihud to honor the centenary of Neumann’s birth. To my surprise and delight, a conference about Neumann, sponsored by the Austrian Association of Analytical Psychology, was also held in Vienna last August to mark that centenary. It appears that the Zeitgeist – a force that Neumann says drives creative artists – is preparing the way for a Neumann revival. (p. 14).
It is hoped that the publication of these papers from the
conference, The History and Origins of a Great Man, will contribute to
that Neumann revival.
I would like to thank my friend and colleague Professor Tamar Kron for calling attention to the Paglia essay. An English language version of the article on life and career of Neumann is available at www.ha’aretz.co.il/archive
Paglia, Camille (2000). Sexaul Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. New york: Vintage.
Paglia, Camille (2006). ‘Erich Neumann: Theorist of the Great Mother.’ Arion 13: 1-14.