1st Edition

Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction An Archetypal Reading of Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler

By Bret Alderman Copyright 2024
    272 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction, Bret Alderman puts forth a compelling thesis: Deconstruction tells a mythic story. Through an attentive examination of multiple texts and literary works, he elucidates this story in psychological and philosophical terms.

    Deconstruction, the method of philosophical and literary analysis originated by Jacques Derrida, arises from what Carl Jung called “a kind of readiness to produce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas.” In the case of deconstruction, such ideas bear a striking resemblance to a figure that Jungian and Post-Jungian writers refer to as the puer aeternus or eternal youth. To make his case, in addition to a careful analysis of numerous Derridean texts, he offers readings of literary works by Milan Kundera, J.M. Barrie, Dante, Apuleius, and others. These texts help illustrate that deconstruction’s preoccupations over questions of presence, deferral, authority, limits, time, and representation are also recurrent issues for the eternal youth as described by Marie-Louise Von Franz and James Hillman. Judith Butler’s deconstruction of sex and gender reflects similar patterns, and she features in this work as a contemporary exemplar of the deconstructive approach.

    Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction will be a compelling read for both students and teachers of depth psychology and continental philosophy. The clarity of its style will be appealing to advanced scholars and educated laypersons alike.

    Introduction: The Present Deferred  1. The Neverland of Différance  2. Traces of the Hollowed Now  3. The Imperative of Archetypal Posession  4. The Eternal Now and the Pleasures of Displacement  5. Aristotle's Impossible Possibility  6. Gender Performativity in the Land of Make Believe  7. Kairos and Eros: Time and Desire  8. The Serpentine Circle as Image of Wholeness  Conclusion: A Return to the Present 


    Bret Alderman is an author who received his PhD in depth psychology in 2013 from the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. His recent interests include ideological possession, deconstruction, gender, and the interface between psychology and philosophy.

    "Alderman's analysis of deconstruction is meticulous and riveting. He also persuasively highlights its archetypal repetition in the mythology of the eternal youth. But his argument is not merely polemical; it is a nuanced reworking of its gifts into a synthesis which will engage readers across the field of contemporary thought"

    Roger Brooke, Professor Emeritus, Duquesne University.

    "In prose reminiscient of Hillman, Alderman illuminates the myth of our era - the rejection of our embodied origin in matter that leaves us in the Neverland of Eternal Youth. This book offers a powerful corrective to the rootless inflation so present in our current cultural moment."

    Lisa Marchiano, author of Motherhood. 

    "At last, a vigorous collision of Jung and deconstruction that superbly illuminates both. 'Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction' succeeds in capturing what these vital perspectives share and how profoundly they diverge. Alderman philosophizes Jung, psychologizes Derrida, and mythologizes Butler. Essential reading for the twentyfirst century transdisciplinary era."

    Susan Rowland, PhD, author of Jungian Arts-Based Research and the Nuclear Enhancement of New Mexico (2021).