Perpetual Adolescence

Jungian Analyses of American Media, Literature, and Pop Culture

Edited by Sally Porterfield, Keith Polette, and Tita French Baumlin

Subjects: American Studies, Popular Culture, American Culture, Jung
Paperback : 9781438428000, 238 pages, September 2009
Hardcover : 9781438427997, 238 pages, September 2009

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction to the Puer/Puella Archetype
GEORGE H. JENSEN
Culture on the Couch: Western Civilization's Journey from Crisis to Maturity
ANODEA JUDITH
Puer and Hellmouth: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and American Myth
SUSAN ROWLAND
Puer in Nature: The Monster and the Grizzly Man
RINDA WEST
Grounding Icarus: Puer Aeternus and the Suicidal Urge
DUSTIN EATON
The Puer as American Hero
SALLY PORTERFIELD
Shaken, Not Stirred: James Bond and the Puer Archetype
LUKE HOCKLEY
A Crown Must Be Earned Every Day: Seeking the Mature Masculine in High Art and Pop Culture
DARRELL DOBSON
"Protracted Adolescence": Refl ections on Forces Informing the American Senex and Puer in the Classroom: A Confl ict of Consciousness in Education
KEITH POLETTE
Insanity by the Numbers, Knowings from the Ground: Outgrowing and Outloving the Cult of Quantifi cation
CRAIG CHALQUIST
The Marriage of the Puer Aeternus and Trickster Archetypes: Psychological Rebirth for the Puer Personality
CHAZ GORMLEY
Little Girl Lost: Sylvia Plath and the Puella Aeterna
SUSAN E. SCHWARTZ
Provincials in Time: The Provisional Life
MARITA DELANEY
List of Contributors
Index

Explores the arrested development of American culture.

Description

Arguing that American culture appeals to and is populated by children and adolescents who merely appear to be adult men and women, the essays in Perpetual Adolescence examine the Jungian archetype of the "eternal youth"—the puer aeternus—as it is manifested in the arrested development of American culture. From the infantilization of the American psyche and the lionization of teenaged celebrities and bodies, to fanatical conformity, and puerile entertainment, the contributors probe the various ways that American television, music, film, print, Internet, education, and social movements work to nourish and sustain this child archetype. Offering analytic psychology as an instrument of social analysis and critique, they point to the need for dialogue over the causes and effects of our puer-fixations, which have become, in large part, both a creation and a creator of the American zeitgeist.

Sally Porterfield is former Director of the A&S Drama Program at the University of Hartford, where she was Assistant Professor of Drama. She is the author of Jung's Advice to the Players: A Jungian Reading of Shakespeare's Problem Plays. Keith Polette is Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso. His books include Teaching Grammar Through Writing: Activities to Develop Writer's Craft in ALL Students in Grades 4–12. Tita French Baumlin is Professor of English at Missouri State University and coeditor (with James S. Baumlin and George H. Jensen) of Post-Jungian Criticism: Theory and Practice, also published by SUNY Press.

Reviews

"The fourteen essays in Perpetual Adolescence each stand on their own as important contributions to understanding the archetype of the Eternal Child in Western popular culture … Perpetual Adolescence is a timely, provocative, and sobering examination of the endemic suffering and pandemic consequences of mass-mindedness 'driven by archetypes.'" — Spring

"This compelling analysis of why visions of never-ending childhood are so compelling in contemporary media delivers a solid, Jungian deconstruction of pop culture." — CHOICE

"Perpetual Adolescence is a fascinating study of one of Jung's most important archetypes, that of the puer aeternus, which implies arrested development rather than eternal youth. Perpetually interesting, this book is genuinely interdisciplinary and will appeal to those interested in cultural studies, film studies, environmental studies, and mythic criticism." — Jeffrey Berman, author of Death in the Classroom: Writing about Love and Loss