The Origins and History of Consciousness is an important and wide-ranging interpretation of the relations between psychology and mythology. C.G. Jung, in his introduction, says that it "opens at the very place where I unwittingly made landfall on the new continent long ago, namely the realm of matriarchal symbolism: and the author uses a symbol whose significance first dawned on me in my writings on the psychology of alchemy: The Uroboros. Upon this foundation he has succeeded in constructing a unique history of the evolution of consciousnessE He arrives at conclusions and insights which are among the most important to be reached in this field." Erich Neumann undertakes to show that the individual consciousness passes through the same archetypal stages of development that marked the history of human consciousness as a whole. He draws upon the full range of world myth in the illustration of his thesis, and his account makes unexpectedly fresh and lively reading in a field not always notable for these qualities. Neumann ends the work with a trenchant commentary on contemporary society.

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