Note that this is a two part seminar and workshop. Tickets can be purchased separately. Friday's seminar contents: All of the major writers and painters of the Modernist period, from 1895-1945, evoke the myth of the nekyia—the descent to and return from the underworld. The myth provides that “shape and significance” which T.S. Eliot saw to be the consequence of the “mythical method.” C.G. Jung’s deep engagement with the underworld parallels its emergence as a central theme in the literature and arts of Modernism. This engagement began with the publication of, and continued throughout the course of his career. This presentation focuses on the nekyia and the night-sea journey in Jung’s work, from Symbols of Transformation and The Red Book to Memories, Dreams, Reflections and the iconographies of the Bollingen Tower. The lecture will be richly amplified by parallels drawn from Egyptian, Nordic, Biblical, Alchemical, and Greek mythologies.
Saturday's workshop is entitled "Squaring the Archtypal Myth: Jung, Mann, Joyce, Hesse, and Modernist Painting". For those interested in the intersection of comparative mythology, literature, and Jungian psychology, Zürich is sacred territory. James Joyce is buried on the mountain above the city at the north end of the lake, Thomas Mann in Kilchberg on the eastern side, and C.G. Jung in Küsnacht on the west. All three men were deeply engaged in the mythology of the nekyia (the journey to and from the underworld), and all three were in fruitful communication with each other at critical times during their long and prolific careers. If we include Herman Hesse in the mix, who was in Jungian analysis in Locarno, and who lived and died in Montagnola in the Ticino, we can square the triangle of this powerful quaternity.
What all four have in common is a fascination with the myth of the nekyia (the descent to the underworld), which informs all of their major writings. The myth plays a prominent role in Jung’s Red Book; in Mann’s “Death in Venice,” Magic Mountain, and Joseph and His Brothers; in Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegans Wake; and in Hesse’s Demian. The slide-illustrated lectures will explore the mythologies of the underworld in all of these works, with an emphasis on the archetypal dreams that constitute the climactic revelations catalyzed by the nekyia in each of these books. The lectures will also include selections from the correspondence and essays in which they respond to and engage each other during the creative explosion of Modernism in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Evans Lansing Smith, Ph.D., is Chair and Core Faculty of the Mythological Studies Program at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, in Santa Barbara, CA. In the 1970s, he traveled with Joseph Campbell on tours of Northern France, Egypt, and Kenya. He has taught at colleges and institutes in Switzerland, Italy, France, Maryland, Texas, and California, and is the recipient of awards for distinguished teaching from Midwestern State University in Texas, and the Pacifica Graduate Institute in California. His Ph.D. is from The Claremont Graduate School, and he has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch International (London and Dublin), and a B.A. from Williams College. He is the author of thirteen books and numerous articles on comparative literature and mythology. His edited volume of Joseph Campbell’s writings and lectures on the Grail Romances was published in 2015, and his edition of the Selected Correspondence of Joseph Campbell is forthcoming.