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Loving’s the Strange Thing

Jungian Individuation in the Fairy Tales of Carmen Martín Gaite


Anne-Marie Storrs

This groundbreaking volume argues that Carmen Martín Gaite and Carl Jung form an ideal combination. All the main features of the Jungian individuation process are present in the Spanish writer’s fairy tales: dreams, shadow figures, wise men and women, the Self, anima and animus. Martín Gaite has been described by the critic Salustiano Martín as trying to offer human beings a different way. In this accessible new study, Anne-Marie Storrs claims that this way is found through the process of individuation – the psychological development of a unique individual – and that aspects of the process are imaginatively depicted in the three shorter fairy tales, El castillo de las tres murallas, El pastel del diablo and Caperucita en Manhattan, and in the novel so closely linked with Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, La reina de las nieves.

Drawing on the work of Jungian writers to clarify and illuminate its argument, this book takes an entirely new perspective on Martín Gaite’s work and, in doing so, challenges the prejudice and suspicion that too many in the humanities and beyond continue to experience when they come face to face with Jung.

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Chapter 5: ‘A lo más oscuro amanece Dios’: The Dawning of the Self in La reina de las nieves


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‘A lo más oscuro amanece Dios’: The Dawning of the Self in La reina de las nieves


This novel, which Carmen Martín Gaite described as ‘una novela tan complicada y “especial”’ [such a complex and ‘special’ novel] (1994: 12), has nevertheless been criticised for ‘infantilismo’ [childishness] and because it ‘oscila entre la realidad y la fantasía’ [swings between reality and fantasy] (Salustiano Martín 1994: 33). Other critics are more positive, applauding Martín Gaite’s subverting of the traditional quest tale in which a male hero seeks his father. Here a woman, Casilda, goes in search of her father and a young man, Leonardo, embarks (albeit unknowingly) on a search for his mother (Odartey Wellington 2000 & 2003). Contrasts persist in critics’ responses to various aspects of the novel including the ending, which some have likened to the first Christmas and the birth of the Son (Bravo 1998: Lindström 2009) or as illustrating Leonardo’s psychic wholeness (Cruz-Cámara 2008). In contrast, Martín considers that it ‘[sobra] enteramente’ [is completely unnecessary] (1994: 33). Critics’ attitudes to the main protagonists, Leonardo Villalba and Casilda Iriarte, are also striking in their contrasts. Annick Le Scouzec Masson finds an air of unreality about both (2003: 82), and José Jurado Morales describes them as ‘dos seres descolocados en el mundo’ [two beings out of place in the world] (2003: 320). Carlos Uxó (1998b) considers Leonardo to be...

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