chapter  8
19 Pages

Drives & their Vicissitudes in the Poetry of Ted Hughes

When I indicated to Joanny Moulin that I was considering working on “drives and their vicissitudes” in Ted Hughes’s poetry, he wrote back suggesting that I do some checking on the concept of enantiodromia as introduced by Jung in his writings and further explored by Hughes in Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being. I will therefore go back on this term, which I hope will permit me to situate differentially the more specifically Freudian concept of drive. In Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being (40), Hughes defines the term with the formula: “Jung’s term for the reversal of one dominant psychological attitude into its opposite.” In his own use of the concept Jung acknowledges his debt towards Heraclitus:

Old Heraclitus…discovered the most marvellous of all psychological laws: the regulative function of opposites. he called it enantiodromia, a running contrariwise, by which he meant that sooner or later everything runs into its opposite… Thus the rational attitude of culture necessarily runs into its opposite, namely the irrational devastation of culture… The enantiodromia that always threatens when a movement attains to undisputed power offers no solution of the problem, for it is just as blind in its disorganization as it was in its organization.