Classical Elements of Nature in Galway Kinnell’s The Book of Nightmares

Palabras clave

Literatura estadounidense

Cómo citar

Quirós-García , Elizabeth. 2020. «Classical Elements of Nature in Galway Kinnell’s The Book of Nightmares». Revista Espiga 20 (40), 76-96.


The aim of this study is to analyze Kinnell’s The Book of Nightmares from an archetypal and mythological approach. While there have been different approaches to reading Kinnell’s book-length poem, their primary concern has been Kinnell’s work in relation to other poets of his generation rather than the analysis of the book-length poem as a unity in which archetypes and myth intersect, with a central focus that is: the classical elements (water, fire, air, and earth), as fundamental elements for the resolution of the binary oppositions life and death in the hero’s quest.. Therefore, for the purpose of this study, the Jungian archetypal approach will be assumed as well as Campbell’s mythical focus, considering that these perspectives are still a valuable means for the analysis of literary texts.


Achtemeier, Paul J. ed. The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1985.

Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang, 1999.

Biedermann, Hans. Dictionary of symbolism. Translated by James. Hulbert. New York: Facts on File. (Original work published in 1989), 1992.

Bloom, Harold., ed. Contemporary Poets. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2010.

Calhoun, Richard. Galway Kinnell. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992.

Campbell, Joseph. Myths to Live by. New York: The Viking Press, 1972.

--- The Power of Myth. New York: Anchor Books, 1991.

--- Pathways to Bliss. California: New World Library, 2004a.

--- The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Boston: Princeton University Press, 2004b.

Cirlot, Juan E. A Dictionary of Symbols. Translated by Jack Sage. London: Routledge, 1962.

Ferber, Michael. A Dictionary of Literary Symbols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Howard, Richard. Alone with America: Essays on the art of poetry in the United States. New York: Atheneum, 1980.

Jung. Carl G. Symbols of Transformation. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956.

--- The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1959.

--- Man and his Symbols. New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc, 1964.

--- Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New York: Pantheon, 1961.

--- Four archetypes. Boston: Princeton University Press, 1970

--- The Undiscovered Self. New York: A Signet Book, 2006.

--- Modern Man in Search of a Soul. New York: Hartcourt, Inc, 2010.

Kinnell, Galway. The Book of Nightmares. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company 1971a.

--- Walking down the stairs: Selections from interviews. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1978.

Mikics, David. A New Handbook of Literary Terms. Boston: Thomson Shore Inc, 2007.

Mills, Ralph .J., Jr. «A reading of Galway Kinnell». The Iowa Review,1(1),(1970a) 66-86. Retrieved from

--- «A reading of Galway Kinnell: Part 2 (Continued)». The Iowa Review, (1970b) 1(2), 102-122. Retrieved from

--- Cry of the human essays on contemporary American poetry. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1975.

Nandi, Rinku. «Archetypal approach to Eliot’s “The Wasteland”». An Interdisciplinary Journal of Literary Studies 1, n° 1 (2016): 57-66. Retrieved from

Nelson, Howard. On the Poetry of Galway Kinnell. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. 1987.

Paz, Octavio El Laberinto de la Soledad. Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra, 1995.

Sabini, Meredith., ed.C.G. The Earth has a Soul: Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life. (1st ed). California: North Atlantic Books, 2001.

Samuels, Andrew. Jung and the Post-Jungians. London and New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.

Sugg, Richard, ed. Jungian Literary Criticism. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1992.

Taha, Aseel Abdul Lateef. «The Allegorical Use of the Rituals of Hunting in Galway Kinnell’s “The Bear”», Journal of the College of Languages, n° 28 (2018): 51-65. Retrieved from

The Poetry of Galway Kinnell. Literary Cavalcade, 2000, vol. 53, no. 1, 16-18. Retrieved from

Zimmerman, Lee. The poetry of Galway Kinnell. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

Los artículos publicados por esta revista operan bajo licencia de CREATIVE COMMONS (Reconocimiento-No Comercial 4.0 Internacional). El Comité Editorial permite la reproducción parcial o total de los artículos a condición de que se mencione  la fuente. Asimismo, los escritos podrán ser colgados y divulgados vía digital, siempre y cuando se mantenga la fuente de su publicación.