Included with permission of the author from Terence Drawson, "Jung, Literature, and Literary Criticism" in The Cambridge Campnaion to Jung, eds. Polly Young-Eisendrath and Terrence Dawson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. Pp. 255-80.
t would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of Pamela. Mr B.'s wrestle with his shadow-tendencies and his compulsion to possess a girl from a lower social class anticipate the two great themes of Goethe's Faust (1808). Pamela also served as a model for innumerable later images of women whose strength of character can be boiled down to their ability to bear with an intolerable husband and make themselves useful by their good deeds. Such women became a stock type of Victorian fiction, especially in novels by women. Pamela's characteristics thus provided a pattern of behaviour that was to be enormously detrimental to the personal fulfilment of several generations of women. Clearly, we need to better understand not only how such stereotypes came about, but also why. For, although there is no space in which to explore this question here, implicit to our argument is the view that the psychological implications that a work once had either for the society that produced it or for its author are equivalent to a major aspect of its continuing significance for the reader today.
It has long been recognised that preoccupations with class conflict, gender stereotyping, and sexual power lie at the centre of Pamela and that they meet in the figure of Mr B. Our reading confirms these, but it also expands on them. Of course the social issues contained in the novel will require examination as social issues. My aim is only to insist that the questions of class difference, gender stereotyping, and sexual power are also -- and inherently -- aspects of a psychological complex. Our reading of Pamela has drawn attention to a dilemma-cum-challenge that is at once unique, in the sense that it relates to a specific text (and, by extension, a specific author), and yet also of collective interest, in the sense that the dilemma facing Mr B. is a variant of a widespread psychological comple' of continuing relevance.
Pamela is one of the earliest novels in the English tradition that has a well-developed sense of social reality, and perhaps the earliest in which the events can be seen as a projection of the personal concerns of its author. Given our findings about Mr B., this suggests that one's consciousness of reality is inseparably related to one's consciousness of one's shadow-tendencies. In other words, that it is only after one has come to tentative terms with one's shadow that one can begin to have either a notion of oneself as ego (distinct from the collective consciousness of one's society), or a conscious awareness of one's place in a social reality. [265-66]
Last modified September 21, 2004