Marie-Louise von Franz

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Marie-Louise von Franz
Born (1915-01-04)4 January 1915
Munich, German Empire
Died 17 February 1998(1998-02-17) (aged 83)
Küsnacht, Switzerland
Nationality Swiss
Fields Psychology
Known for psychological interpretation of fairy tales and of alchemy

Marie-Louise von Franz (4 January 1915 – 17 February 1998) was a Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar, renown for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts.

Early life and education[edit]

Marie-Louise Ida Margareta von Franz was born in Munich, Germany, the daughter of a colonel in the Austrian army.[1]

After World War I, in 1919, her family moved to Switzerland, near St. Gallen. From 1928 on, she lived in Zurich, together with ther elder sister, in order to be both able to attend a high school (gymnasium) in Zurich, specializing in languages and literature. Three years later, her parents moved to Zurich, as well.[2]:xxxvi

Meeting Carl Gustav Jung[edit]

In Zurich, in 1933, in the age of 18, when about to finishing secondary school, she met the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Together with a classmate and nephew of Jungs assistant Toni Wolff, Marie-Louise and 7 befriended boys had been invited by Prof. Jung into his Bollingen Tower (near Zurich). For Marie-Louise von Franz, this had been a most impressive and "decisive encounter of her life", as she told her sister later, the same evening.[3] :135 At the meeting, Jung and the pupils discussed psychology. When Jung commented on a "mentally ill woman, who [actually, not to be taken symbolically] lived on the moon" [4]:18 M.-L. von Franz understood, that there are two levels of reality: the psychological, the inner world with its dreams and myths, was as real as the outer world. [5]

Studies, meagre times and private lessons[edit]

In 1933, at University of Zurich, Marie-Louise von Franz started studies in Classical Philology and Classical Languages (Latin and Greek) as major subjects and in Literature and Ancient History as minor subjects. Due to major finanical loss of her father in the early 1930s, she had to finance study fees by herself,[3]:135 what she achieved by giving private lessons as tutor in Latin and Greek for gymnasium and university students. In the years after finishing her studies, she continuied this to supported herself, working on fairy tale texts.[3]:136

Besides her universitarian studies, M.-L. von Franz occupied herself with Jungian Psychology, as well. She attended C.G. Jungs' psychological lectures at the Swiss Federal Polytechnical School in Zurich (now Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich) and, in 1935 and later, also his psychological seminars. In 1934 she started analytical training with C.G. Jung.[2]:xxxvii

Collaboration with C.G. Jung[edit]

In order to pay C.G. Jung for her training analysis, she did translation works for him of Greek and Latin texts.[1] Among others, she translated two major alchemical manuscripts, that had been attributed to Thomas Aquinas: Aurora Consurgens and Musaeum Hermeticum. As many of its passages were of Islamic and Persian origin, M.-L. von Franz took up Arabic as study subject at university.[3]:135

This was the beginning of a long-standing collaboration with C.G. Jung until his death in 1961, which was especially close in the field of alchemy. Not only did she translation works, she also commented on the origin and psychological meaning of Aurora Consurgens. She made plausible, that this christian-alchemical text might have well been dictated by Thomas Aquinas himself.[6]

The experience of what Jung termed "objective Psyche" or "collective unconscious" coined her life and work as well as it stamped her way of living and trying to understand the reality of this autonomous psyche, acting independently from consciousness.

Interpretation of fairy tales[edit]

In 1935 Hedwig von Beit asked Marie-Louise von Franz to assist her part-time with writing a book about fairy tales. Von Franz indulged into a time-consuming 9-years research and interpretation work. Fairy tales became increasingly important to her in regard to psychological questions. The work is published in the book "Symbolik des Märchens" (Symbolism of Fairy Tales).[3][7] Nevertheless, this book (of 3 volumes) was only published under the name of Hedwig von Beit. In her later talks and books, she connects fairy tale interpretation with everyday life. Alfred Ribi says, that von Franz might well be understood as the first to discover and demonstrate the psychological wisdom of fairy tales.[4]:20

Von Franzens interpretation of fairy tales[8] bases on Jung‘s view of fairy tales as a spontaneous and naive product of soul, which can only express what soul is.[9] That means, she looks at fairy tales as images of different phases of experiencing the reality of the soul. They are the “purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes” and “they represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest and most concise form” because they are less overlaid with conscious material than myths and legends. “In this pure form, the archetypal images afford us the best clues to the understanding of the processes going on in the collective psyche”. “The fairy tale itself is its own best explanation; that is, tis meaning is contained in the totality of its motifs connected by the thread of the story. [...] Every fairy tale is a relatively closed system compounding one essential psychological meaning which is expressed in a series of symbolical pictures and events and is discoverable in these”. “I have come to the conclusion that all fairy tales endeavour to describe one and the same psychic fact, but a fact so complex and far-reaching and so difficult for us to realize in all its different aspects that hundreds of tales and thousands of repetitions with a musician’s variation are needed until this unknown fact is delivered into consciousness; and even then the theme is not exhausted. This unknown fact is what Jung calls the Self, which is the psychic reality of the collective unconscious. [...] Every archetype is in its essence only one aspect of the collective unconscious as well as always representing also the whole collective unconscious.[10]:1-2 (chapter1)

The fairy tales' hero and heroine - with which the auditory identifies - are taken as archetypal figures (not as common human ego) representing the archetypal foundation of the ego-complex of an individual or a group. “The hero restores to healthy , normal functioning a situation in which all egos fo that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive basic totality pattern. Hero and Heroine form ”a model of an ego [...] demonstrating a rightly functioning ego, [...] in accordance with the requirements of the Self”. [10]:21-45 (chapter4)

G. Isler explains further „The figure of the hero as well as the whole story compensate what initially was an insufficient or wrong attitude of consciousness. The initial situation of need, misery and shortcomings is solved at the end having a structure which is more whole than the beginning. This corresponds to a renewal of the ruling consciousness (expressed e.g. in the young king), being oriented towards psychic wholeness and totality in a way that is more appropriate" to the demands of the Self, than before. "Fairy tales compensate individual consciousness, but also an insufficient attitude of collective consciousness, which in European culture has been coined mainly by Christianity." In contrast to personalistic-subjective ways of interpretation, the fate of the hero is not understood as individual neurosis, but as difficulties and dangers, being imposed on man by nature. [11]

Career[edit]

Von Franz worked with Carl Jung, whom she met in 1933 and with whom seh collaborated until his death in 1961.[12]

From 1942 on until her death, Marie-Louise von Franz practised as an analyst, mainly in Küsnacht, Switzerland. In 1987, she claimed to have interpreted over 65,000 dreams.[13]

She wrote more than 20 books on analytical psychology, most notably on fairy tales as they relate to archetypal psychology and depth psychology. She amplified the themes and characters of these tales. She amplified the themes and characters of these tales and focused on subjects like e.g. the problem of evil, the changing of the attitude towards the archetype of the female. [14]

Another field of interest and writing was alchemy, which von Franz discussed from the Jungian psychological perspective. She edited, translated and commented on Aurora Consurgens, attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the problem of opposites in alchemy. During her last years of life, she commented the Arabic alchemical manuscript of Muḥammad Ibn Umail Hal ar-Rumuz (Book of the explanation of the symbols)[15] For alchemists, imaginatio vera was an important approach to matter. It resembles in many aspects the active imagination discovered by C.G. Jung. Marie-Louise von Franz lectured 1969 about active imagination and alchemy[16] and also wrote about in Man and His Symbols. Active Imagination may be described as conscious dreaming. In Man and His Symbols, she described it as follows:

Active imagination is a certain way of meditating imaginatively, by which one may deliberately enter into contact with the unconscious and make a conscious connection with psychic phenomena.[17]

Besides fairy tales and alchemy, a third field of interest and research was about synchronicity, psyche and matter, and numbers. It seems to have been triggered by Jung, whose research lead him to the hypothesis about in the unity of the psychic and material worlds, i.e., that they are one and the same, just different manifestations. He also believed that this concept of the unus mundus could be investigated by means of researching archetypes. Due to his advanced age, he turned the problem over to von Franz.[18] Two of her books, Number and Time and Psyche and Matter deal with this research. In 1968, von Franz was the first to argue that the mathematical structure of DNA is analogous to that of the I Ching. She cited the I Ching in an essay, Symbols of the Unus Mundus, published in her book Psyche and Matter.[19]

In addition to her many books, von Franz made a series of films in 1987 titled The Way of the Dream, along with her student, Fraser Boa. In The Wisdom of the Dream. A channel 4 television series, London 1989, von Franz was interviewed. Text of the film is printed in: Seegaller, S. and Berger, M: Jung – the Wisdom of the Dream. London 1989.

1941-1944 von Franz was associated member of the Psychological Club, Zurich. There, she first lectured on the visions of Perpetua on June 7, 1941, which later was expanded and published as her first book The Visions of Perpetua. In the following years, she held many lecutres at the Zurich Psychological Club. They often constitued the basis of many of her books. Between 1942 and 1952 she acted as its librarian.[20]

1944 she became one of its full members of it.[2]:xxxix

In 1948, she was a co-founder of the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich.

In 1974, von Franz together with some of her pupils (René Malamud, Willi Obrist, Alfred Ribi, Paul Walder) founded the "Stiftung für Jung'sche Psychologie". The aim of this foundation ist to support research and spreading of the findings in the field of Jungian depth psychology, publishing also the journal "Jungiana".

Jung encouraged von Franz to live with fellow Jungian analyst Barbara Hannah, who was 23 years older than her. When Hannah asked Jung why he was so keen on putting them together, Jung replied that he wanted von Franz "to see that not all women are such brutes as her mother." Jung also stated that "the real reason you should live together is that your chief interest will be analysis, and analysts should not live alone."[21] The two women became lifelong friends.

Correspondence with Wolfgang Pauli[edit]

Von Franz had a lengthy exchange of letters with Wolfgang Pauli, winner of a Nobel Prize in physics. On Pauli's death, his widow Franca deliberately destroyed all the letters von Franz had sent to her husband, and which he had kept locked inside his writing desk. But the letters sent by Pauli to von Franz were all saved and were later made available to researchers (and published as well).[22]:148

Selected works[edit]

Most of these titles are a translation of the original German title. A few titles were originally published in English.

Additionally, she collaborated with Emma Jung on The Grail Legend (ISBN 0-691-00237-1), which discusses the psychological symbolism of the documented legends of the Holy Grail.

The Fountain of the Love of Wisdom: An Homage to Marie-Louise von Franz is a compilation of eulogies, essays, personal impressions, book reviews, and more from dozens of people who were influenced by von Franz.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kirsch, Thomas B. (2012). The Jungians: A Comparative and Historical Perspective. Routledge. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9781134725519. 
  2. ^ a b c Kennedy-Xypolitas, Emmanuel (2006), "Chronology", in Kennedy-Xypolitas, The Fountain of the Love of Wisdom. An homage to Marie-Louise von Franz, Wilmette, ILlinois: Chiron Publ., pp. xxxv–xlii, ISBN 1-888602-38-4 
  3. ^ a b c d e von Franz, Marie-Anne B. (2006). Some Biographic Data on Marie-Louise von Franz, in: Emmanuel Kennedy-Xypolitas (ed.): The Fountain of the Love of Wisdom. An homage to Marie-Louise von Franz,. Chiron, Illinois. ISBN 1-888602-38-4. 
  4. ^ a b Ribi, Emmanuel (2006), "Obituary", in Kennedy-Xypolitas, Emmanuel, The Fountain of the Love of Wisdom. An homage to Marie-Louise von Franz, Chiron Publications Wilmette, Illinois, ISBN 1-888602-38-4 
  5. ^ Anne Maguire: Marie-Louise von Franz. Doyenne. In: James A. Hall and Daryl Sharp: Marie-Louise von Franz. The Classic Jungian and The Classic Jungian Tradition. Inner City Books, Toronto 2008, p. 36, ISBN 9781894574235.
  6. ^ See Introduction of Marie-Louise von Franz: Aurora Consurgens. A Document Attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of Opposites in Alchemy. A Companion Work to C.G. Jung's Mysterium Conjunctionis. Translated by R.F.C. Hull and A.S.B. Glover. (Studies in Jungian Psychology). Inner City Books, Toronto 2000, p. X-XI, 4, 429-430. IBN 0919123-90-2.
  7. ^ Not published in English.
  8. ^ For a comprehensive introduction into fairy tale interpretation, and main terms of Jungian Psychology (Anima, Animus, Shadow) see Marie-Louise von Franz. "An Introduction to the Psychology of Fairytales". Zurich, New York 1970.
  9. ^ C. G. Jung: The Phenomoneology of the Sprit in Fairytales (1948). In: Collected Works, Vol. 9,I, Princeton/Bollingen 1980, par. 432.
  10. ^ a b von Franz, Marie-Louise (1970), An Introduction to the Psychology of Fairytales, Zurich, New York: Spring publications, ISBN 0-88214-101-5 
  11. ^ Gotthilf Isler: Franz, Marie-Louise von. In: Enzyklopädie des Märchens. Handwörterbuch zur historischen und vergleichenden Erzählforschung. Edited by Rolf Wilhelm Brednich and Hermann Bausinger. Vol. 5, De Gruyter, Berlin 1987, p. 100.
  12. ^ Isler says that Marie-Louise von Franz has probably been "the closest and most important collaboator of C.G. Jung in the last third of his life." See his German foreword in "Jungiana A, Vol.2" (1990), p.7. This issue was dedicated to von Franz.
  13. ^ Boa, Frazer: The Way of the Dream. Windrose Films, Toronto 1988. ISBN 0-9693254-0-1.
  14. ^ Marie-Louise von Franz. Shadow and Evil in Fairytales. Spring Publications, Zurich, New York 1974 and Shambhala, Boston 1995. Marie-Louise von Franz. Problems of the Feminine in Fairytales. Spring Publications Zurich, New York 1972 and Boston, Shambhala 1993.
  15. ^ Marie-Louise von Franz: Book of the Explanation of the Symbols. Kitāb Ḥall ar-Rumūz by Muḥammad Ibn Umail. Psychological Commentary by Marie-Louise von Franz (= Corpus Alchemicum Arabicum. Vol. I A). Translated by Salwa Fuat and Theodor Abt, edited by Theodor Abt. Living Human Heritage Publications, Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-95226-083-5.
  16. ^ Marie-Louise von Franz: Alchemical Active Imagination, Spring Publ., Texas 1979.
  17. ^ Carl Jung, Man and his Symbols, p.206-207
  18. ^ Marie-Louise von Franz Number and Time (Northwestern, 1974) ix.
  19. ^ Marie-Louise von Franz Psyche and Matter (Shambhala, 1992) p.39-62. The reference is cited on page 44; she cites the reference as number 16 of the article: Dialog über den Menschen: Eine Festschrift zum 75. Geburtstag von Wilhelm Bitter (Klett. Stuttgart, 1968).
  20. ^ Emmanuel Kennedy-Xypolitas. Introduction, In Emmanuel Kennedy-Xypolitas (ed.), The Fountain of the Love of Wisdom. An homage to Marie-Louise von Franz, Chiron Publications Wilmette, Illinois 2006, p.xxxii, footnote 2.
  21. ^ Dean L. Franz's portrait of Barbara Hannah in Hannah's The Cat, Dog and Horse Lectures (Chiron, 1992), p.18
  22. ^ Gieser, Suzanne (2005). The innermost kernel : depth psychology and quantum physics : Wolfgang Pauli's dialogue with C.G. Jung. Berlin [u.a.]: Springer. ISBN 9783540208563. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Anthony, M. (1990). The Valkyries: The Women around Jung. Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element. ISBN 1-85230-187-2
  • Hall, James A. and Sharp, Daryl (eds.). Marie-Louise von Franz: The Classic Jungian and The Classic Jungian Tradition. Inner City Books, Toronto, 2008. ISBN 978-1-894574-23-5
  • Jung, Carl G. (1968). Man and His Symbols. New York: Dell Publishing. ISBN 0-440-35183-9.  Von Franz wrote Part 3 of this popular work.

External links[edit]