JAMES HILLMAN (b. 1926 – d. 2011) was a pioneering psychologist whose imaginative psychology has entered cultural history, affecting lives and minds in a wide range of fields. He is considered the originator of Archetypal Psychology. Hillman received his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in 1959 where he studied with Carl Jung and held the first directorship at the C. G. Jung Institute until 1969. In 1970, he became the editor of Spring Journal, a publication dedicated to psychology, philosophy, mythology, arts, humanities, and cultural issues and to the advancement of Arche- typal Psychology. Hillman returned to the United States to take the job of Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Dallas after the first International Archetypal Conference was held there. Hillman, in 1978 along with Gail Thomas, Joanne Stroud, Robert Sardello, Louise Cowan, and Donald Cowan, co-founded The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture in Dallas, Texas. The Uniform Edition of The Writings of James Hillman is published by Spring Publications, Inc. in conjunction with The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.
The body of his work comprises scholarly studies in several fields including psychology, philosophy, mythology, art, and cultural studies. For the creativity of his thinking, the author of A Terrible Love of War (2004), The Force of Character and the Lasting Life (1999), and Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling (1996) was on the New York Times best-seller list for nearly a year. Re-Visioning Psychology (1975), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, The Myth of Analysis (1972), and Suicide and the Soul (1964) received many honors, including the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic. He held distinguished lectureships at the Universities of Yale, Princeton, Chicago, and Syracuse, and his books have been translated into some twenty languages.
The influences shaping the core of Hillman’s work are not limited to depth psychology. His ideas have firm grounding in the classical Greek tradition and are also deeply influenced by Renaissance thought and Romanticism, encompassing the contributions of psychologists, philosophers, poets, and alchemists. Hillman described his own line of thought as part of the lineage of Heraclitus, Plato, Plotinus, Vico, Ficino, Schelling, Coleridge, Dilthey, Freud, and Jung. Other influential authors in Hillman´s work are Keats, Bachelard, Corbin, Nietzsche, Paracelsus, and Shelley.
Throughout his writings, Hillman criticized the literal, materialistic, and reductive perspectives that often dominate the psychological and cultural arenas. He insisted on giving psyche its rightful place in psychology and culture, fundamentally through imagination, metaphor, art, and myth. That act he called soul-making, a term borrowed from Keats.
He is recognized as one of the most important radical critics and innovators of contemporary culture.
The New York Times‘ obituary:
James Hillman, a charismatic therapist and best-selling author whose theories about the psyche helped revive interest in the ideas of Carl Jung, animating the so-called men’s movement in the 1990s and stirring the pop-cultural air, died on Thursday at his home in Thompson, Conn. He was 85.
The Guardian‘s obituary:
James Hillman, who has died aged 85 from the complications of cancer, has been hailed as the most important US psychologist since William James. He was a dedicated subversive – witty and original – and an heir to the Jungian tradition, which he reimagined with unceasing brilliance. Fiercely critical of America’s dedication to the pursuit of happiness, Hillman focused on the darkest and most difficult human experiences – illness, depression, failure and suicide – not merely as abnormal pathologies that should be avoided or cured.