Of “Fire” and “Form” with Tommaso Priviero

Abstract: This seminar traces the untold encounter between two illustrious visionaries: Dante Alighieri and Carl Gustav Jung. For the renowned Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, Dante’s journey to Hell for the sake of his beloved, Beatrice, perfectly unveiled the passions and struggles of the modern psyche, while providing a pathway to inner freedom. The Commedia crucially affected Jung’s own visionary experiences (coalesced into the astonishing book of visions known as Jung’s Liber Novus) and indeed the development of his psychological ideas. In light of this, this seminar provides an introduction to the symbolical correspondences between Liber Novus and the Commedia, upon a continuous intersection of a historical perspective with a symbolical-analytical one. The result is a journey through thematics as various as the metánoia or “radical mental change”, the symbolism of animals, the descent into Hell, the function of the magician or psychopomp, and the ever-changing action and enigma of eros. Starting from Jung’s lifelong confrontation with Dante, this seminar uses this encounter as a beacon to capture a fundamentally Dantesque characteristic of analytical psychology: the transformative and healing capacities of man’s visionary potential.

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