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Reviewed by Marie-Hélène Fasquel for Readers' Favorite
A Quick Guide to Archetypes and Allegory by Ken Johnson is an extremely compact but comprehensive work. It deals with diverse topics such as creative writing, authorship, writing techniques, archetypes in literature, and of course allegory. This work is particularly useful to students, teachers, writers and readers alike in order to better understand what literature is based on. Everything is about archetypes, even our brain as Carl Gustav Jung brilliantly proved. Thus, studying archetypes in literature as well as allegory is essential, and this book will allow us to dig deeper into that subject.
To top it all, A Quick Guide to Archetypes and Allegory by Ken Johnson is fascinating and particularly original since it tackles topics such as “non-humanoid character usage”, “regional character development”, Werekin”, “Oppressed soul”, “Polymath”. I even learned words! The prelude starts by letting us know that in today’s world this concept of archetypes being used as building blocks for evolving characters is considered a passé notion. Indeed the author started by interviewing authors and cinematic leaders who rejected this idea of using archetypes and allegory in their plots and goes on to show how important they are in explaining Jung’s stand on archetypes. The prelude, epilogue and chapter 1 are dedicated to this analysis, usage, and development of archetypes and how they interact with allegory. Chapters 2 to 4 cover most types of archetypes and include valuable examples from famous authors. To conclude, this is a must-have for anyone interested in literature!