Reading for Psyche:



  • Inez Martinez University of Wisconsin-Madison



Because of imaginative literature’s extensive renderings of numinous experiences in symbolic forms, a focus on numinous moments in a text can yield an ever-unfolding understanding of the complexity of the factors affecting both positive and negative transformation.  Flannery O’Connor’s “Revelation” illustrates typical optimism of religious treatments of numinous experiences with regard to transformation; E. M. Forster’s “The Road from Colonus” exemplifies non-integration of a numinous experience; and Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle offers a vision of integration of numinous experiences as shared in the realm of psyche. These three works are analyzed to demonstrate that each literary treatment of numinous experiences potentially offers specific understanding of the complexities of integrating or failing to integrate numinous experiences; therefore reading literature with a focus on its renderings of numinous experiences is a revelatory approach to reading literature for psyche.