A Journey to Conscious Femininity
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 A notable contribution to the understanding of women's development, as leading Jungian analyst Woodman comments on and provides a theoretical framework for personal accounts by three of her clients. The first-person stories by these clients--Kate Danson, Mary Hamilton, and Rita Greer Allen--make up the major part of the book. Culled by the women from hundreds of pages of their journals, the narratives demonstrate with immediacy and in moving detail the paths by which women of varied backgrounds and experiences arrive at what Woodman terms ``conscious femininity.'' But what makes this different from the many similiar Jungian-oriented books of recent years is the compelling voice in each story. Danson, a graduate student, undergoes an emotional crisis following an abortion, resulting in a shift of focus from family to academic life. Hamilton, a dancer, engages in a series of dialogues with powerful inner figures emerging from her dreams. Allen, a sculptor and filmmaker, begins her inner work at age 72 and encounters serious physical illness in the course of renewing the sources of her creativity. The backdrop to all this is Woodman's interpretation of a little-known Grimm's fairy tale, ``Allerleirauh,'' and her explication of the women's processes of ``individuation'' in terms of archetypal motifs suggested by the fairy tale. Woodman's emphasis is on the imperative for women to discount external cultural demands (the dictates of the patriarchy, the Father's House of the title) and to step into the unfamiliar territory of inner symbols and symptoms in order to transform themselves and their relationships. Lively and fascinating despite Woodman's somewhat repetitive use of popularized Jungianisms (``inner feminine,'' ``inner masculine,'' etc.). The women's narratives speak eloquently for themselves.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1992
ISBN: 0-87773-578-6
Page count: 392pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992