Psyche and Eros: Mind and Gender in the Life Course

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In Psyche and Eros, first published in 1994, Gisela Labouvie-Vief describes historical and current concepts of mind and development, drawing from disciplines as diverse as philosophy, mythology, religion, literature, and psychology. She then presents a powerful theory of the maturing of mind, which brings together her empirical work and her exploration into mythology. The classical Greek myth of the gods Psyche and Eros serves as an evocative illustration of the author's theory. Psyche and Eros asserts that the core experience of development differs along gender lines. Rationality is regarded as masculine, while imagination is viewed as feminine. Competition between 'masculine' and 'feminine' parts of the mind has limited our ability to describe the mind and its development over the life course, just as it limits our experiences of development as men and women. The author suggests that we overcome the dualistic way of thinking about mind, and see how rationality and imagination can complement each other.