The Superman as salamander:symbols of transformation or transformational symbols? by Paul Bishop

Taking its cue from David Holt’s discussion of Jung and Marx in relation to alchemy, Christianity, and the work against Nature, this paper discusses Goethe, Nietzsche, and Jung in relation to alchemy and the work on the self. It focuses on the idea of transformation as entral to Jung’s understanding of both Goethe’s Faust and Nietzsche’s Thus spoke Zarathustra. And it argues that, in alchemical terms, the Superman becomes the salamander ― while suggesting, in the hidden and unspoken part of its title, that the Superman does not just become a salamander, he becomes the philosophers’ stone.

Keywords: aesthetics; alchemy; Goethe; Nietzsche; symbol; transformation.

Published in International Journal of Jungian Studies,” vol. 3, no. 1 (March 2011), pp. 4-20

Paul Bishop is Professor of German at the University of Glasgow. His publications include The Dionysian Self (de Gruyter), Synchronicity and Intellectual Intuition (Mellen), Jung’s “Answer to Job”: A Commentary (Routledge), and Analytical Psychology and German Classical Aesthetics (Routledge); he is currently finishing a study entitled Reading Goethe at Midlife: Ancient Wisdom German Classicism, & Jung (Spring) and editing a collection of papers called The Archaic: The Past in the Present (Routledge).

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