Károly Kerényi


Károly Kerényi

One of the founders of modern studies in Greek mythology, Károly (Carl, Karl) Kerényi (January 19, 1897 – April 14 1973) was born in "Temesvár", "Hungary" (now Timişoara, Romania), and then lived in Hungary. His was a family of some landed property.

Education

At the University of Budapest he followed a program in classical philology with a doctorate on Plato and Longinus and aesthetic theory in Antiquity, and read widely. In the following years he taught in Hungary at the secondary school level, travelled in Greece and Italy and followed courses at Greifswald, Heidelberg and the University of Berlin. His first book "Die griechisch-orientalische Romanliteratur in religionsgeschichtlicher Beleuchtung" ("The Greek-Oriental Romances in the Light of the history of Religions"), dedicated to Franz Boll, was published in 1927 and earned him an appointment as "privatdocent" at Budapest. He became professor of classical philology and ancient history at Pécs (1934) and Szeged (1941) and continued to explore the classical sites of Greece. In Greece in 1929 he met W. F. Otto, who influenced him to combine the studies of comparative religions and social history, while his friendship with Carl Jung induced him to take the findings of modern psychology into consideration as well. Kerényi's long correspondence with Thomas Mann was published in 1975.

Career

His distinguished career took place during decades when far-right ideologies became more and more influential. "The distinguished scientist and thinker Károly Kerényi once said that the spirit of abstraction opened doors to national socialism when Jews as personalities were substituted by the impersonal category of "Jewry" - "to kill Jews" sounds dreadfully; "to liquidate Jewry" resembles a description of some logical operation" (Averintsev). In the post-War turmoil, Kerényi, living in Switzerland since 1943, was doubly tainted as a prominent member of the former Hungarian intellectual Establishment and the bearer of an aristocratic name, unable to find work in the Stalinist regime of Mátyás Rákosi after the philosopher-potentate György Lukács, condemned him as "the cart pusher of fascism", Kerényi was forced to emigrate permanently, and became a citizen of Switzerland in the late 1940s. He was a co-founder of the Jung Institute in Zürich. In 1961 he was inducted into the Royal Norwegian Academy of Sciences. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Uppsala and the gold medal of the Humboldt Society.

He was a close friend and collaborator of Carl Jung, who described him as having "supplied such a wealth of connections [of psychology] with Greek mythology that the cross-fertilization of the two branches of science can no longer be doubted." In 1949 Jung and Kerényi published together "Essays on the Science of Mythology: the Myths of the Divine Child and the Divine Maiden." Kerenyi and Jung both furnished commentaries to Paul Radin's "The Trickster: a Study in American Indian Mythology," where Kerényi saw the Trickster figure as the "enemy of boundaries."

As a historian of myth as it was embedded in the details of Hellenic culture, its "characteristic social existence" as he put it, Kerényi opposed his "differentiated thinking about the concrete realities of human life" with the "summary thinking" that represented for him the influence of Sir James Frazer on the study of the peoples of antiquity and Greek religion especially (Preface to "Dionysus" p xxvii).

Bibliography

Kerenyi brought to the Greek myths the art of hermeneutics, interpreted by C. Moustakas ("Phenomenological Research Methods" 1994) as "the art of reading a text so that the intention and meaning behind appearances are fully understood". Central to his work was his series of book-length essays on archetypes of Greek mythology. Five were translated into English and published as Bollingen Series LXV:

*"Prometheus: Archetypal Image of Human Existence"
*"Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life," Princeton University Press, 1976, tracing the career of the cults of Dionysus from his origins in Minoan culture to the cosmopolitan religion of late Antiquity.
*"Asklepios: Archetypal Image of the Physician's Existence" which Kerenyi described as "a tour of the sites where the cult of Asklepios, god of medicine and god of the Greek physicians, was practiced." It includes chapters on "Asklepios in Rome", "Epidauros", "The Sons of Asklepios on Kos", "Hero Physicians and the Physician of the Gods in Homer", and "The Origins in Thessaly".
*"Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter" (Demeter and Persephone and the Eleusinian Mysteries) first published in German, 1960.
*"Zeus and Hera: Archetypal Image of Father, Husband, and Wife."

;Other works by Kerényi

*"Hermes Guide of Souls: the Mythologem of the Masculine Source of Life"
*"Apollo: The Wind, the Spirit, and the God: Four Studies"
*"Athene: Virgin and Mother in Greek Religion" in which Kerenyi also discusses the mythological underpinnings of Greek communal and political consciousness, and Greek individuality.
*"Gods of the Greeks"
*"The Heroes of the Greeks"
*"Goddesses of Sun and Moon," in which Kerenyi explores in four essays unusual feminine configurations, the mythemes of Circe, the enchantress; Medea, the murderess; golden Aphrodite, and Niobe and the moon.
*"The Religion of the Greeks and Romans"

References

*Magda Kerényi, "vita" prefacing bibliography in Kerényi's "Dionysus" (Princeton:Bollingen), pp 445ff.

External links

* [http://www.springpublications.com/kerenyi.html Spring Publications]
* [http://iicas.org/english/enlibrary/libr_09_08_01.htm Sergei Averintsev, "Overcoming the Totalitarian Past"]


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  • Károly Kerényi — Károly (Carl, Karl) Kerényi (19 janvier 1897 14 avril 1973), né à Temesvár et ayant vécu en Hongrie, est l un des fondateurs de l étude moderne de la mythologie grecque. Il collabora avec le psychiatre suisse Carl Gustav Jung et avec l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Karoly Kerenyi — Károly Kerényi Károly Kerényi Károly (Carl, Karl) Kerényi (19 janvier 1897 14 avril 1973), né à Temesvár et ayant vécu en Hongrie, est l un des fondateurs de l étude moderne de la mythologie grecque. Il collabora avec le psychiatre suisse Carl… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Károly Kerényi — (1897 1973), uno de los mejores estudiosos de mitología griega del siglo XX. Le interesa principalmente facilitar al lector la comprensión del mundo mítico, antes que hacer cualquier interpretación. Analiza los Misterios de Eleusis desde la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Károly Kerényi — Esta página o sección está siendo traducida del idioma inglés a partir del artículo Károly Kerényi, razón por la cual puede haber lagunas de contenidos, errores sintácticos o escritos sin traducir. Puedes colaborar con Wikipedia …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Kerényi — Karl Kerényi Karl (Károly) Kerényi [ˈkaːroj ˈkɛreːɲi] (* 19. Januar 1897 in Temesvár, damals Österreich Ungarn heute im westlichen Rumänien; 14. April 1973 in Kilchberg, Schweiz) war ein …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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