WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES: Myths and stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola "EstÉs

WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES: Myths and stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

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A feminist counterpart to Iron John--or, how ""a healthy woman is much like a wolf."" EstÉs, a Jungian analyst, believes that a woman's wholeness depends on her returning to the sources of her repressed instinctual nature. To illustrate the ways of the ""wild woman,"" the author draws on myths, legends, and fairy tales from a vast and eclectic range of traditions. This collection of stories may well be the most valuable element of the book, which otherwise reads like unedited transcripts of the workshops EstÉs leads to encourage women to return to their ""feral"" roots. Each story demonstrates a particular aspect of woman's experience--relationship, creativity, anger, spirituality, etc. EstÉs finds evidence in the most diverse tales of the necessity for women to reclaim their wildness. The precise nature of this wildness is difficult to fathom, but, at best, it seems to include a genuine opacity to access feelings and to accept one's contradictions, while, at worst, it appears to amount to the kind of self-indulgence that prevailed during the ""me"" generation. EstÉs claims that her book is for every woman, ""whether you be spicy or somber, regal or roughshod""; but her underlying assumption that every woman is free to abandon what holds her back seems ignorant of social and economic realities. The author provides few concrete examples that might help women understand what she expects them to do, and her prose abounds in generalizations and oddities (""the ambitious woman...who is heartfelt toward her accomplishments"") that further undermine her credibility and her considerable scholarship. Hortatory, ecstatic, and, ultimately, irritating.

Pub Date: July 20th, 1992
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Ballantine