Shadow and Evil in Fairytales

Marie-Louise von Franz

Shadow and Evil in Fairytales © book cover courtesy

Student and collaborator to C.G. Jung, Marie-Louise von Franz wrote about a number of Jungian subjects, ranging from alchemy to synchronicity, spanning the mystical-intellectual, as well as the earthy. Von Franz was particularly a master of the Jungian art of amplification, in which the the images of psyche and story are broadened into a wider, archetypal understanding, creating a web of connections between the personal and collective psyches, and across multiple eras and cultures. This is an important skill in Jungian thought; one of the lovelier outcomes of amplificatory work is that it helps the individual to feel that she is part of something much larger.

In Shadow and Evil in Fairytales, von Franz is at her finest, engaging in a close reading of a number of folk stories, digging for and amplifying narrative elements, and demonstrating how they reflect forces within the human psyche. But perhaps most strikingly, the author explores images of evil in fairy tales — how evil behaves and how protagonists deal with it. Though careful analysis, von Franz demonstrates how such stories offer a blueprint for facing evil in the outer world. Just as relevant now as when it was released in 1974, Shadow and Evil in Fairytales is magical, compelling, and insightful.