Singer, June K.
SINGER, June K.
Born 23 October 1918, Cleveland, Ohio
Daughter of Jonas and Regine Kurlander; married Richard E. Singer, 1939; children: one daughter
June K. Singer was the first of two daughters; her father was a dentist, her mother a journalist. Singer saw early that a woman could be successful in a "man's world" without losing touch with her feminine roots.
Singer earned a B.S. in English and education from Ohio State University in 1939. She married a rabbi and they had one daughter. In 1959 Singer received an M.A. in counseling and guidance from Northwestern University. She and her husband went to Zurich, where in 1964 they both received their diplomas as analysts from the C. G. Jung Institute. Shortly after their return to the U.S., Singer's husband died. Singer settled in Chicago to practice, where she was one of the founders of two Jungian organizations. She returned to Northwestern University for a Ph.D. in psychology (1968).
The Unholy Bible (1970) is a psychological interpretation of William Blake and an extension of Singer's thesis for her analyst's diploma. It was roundly and often deservedly attacked for the tenuous connections Singer draws between images in the poetry and Blake's unconscious desires and drives. At a time when many literary critics were reviling any use of biographical materials, the reviews of this book often overlooked Singer's many useful insights, such as how Blake's writing, engraving, and drawing gave him the psychic discipline that grounded and controlled the flooding of his unconscious. Singer's style moves unevenly from overlush appreciation to smooth and measured analysis, yet The Unholy Bible is an often insightful example of Jungian psychobiography.
Singer's style and thought cohere far better in Boundaries of the Soul (1972), and here her view of Jungian thought within its context of contemporary culture reveals a comprehensive, even philosophical, perspective. She departs from some of Jung's ideas, such as his sometimes Victorian concepts of women and his rather limiting and reductionist personality typology. The book is not only an introduction for the general reader but a critique of Jungian thought.
Androgyny (1976) is more difficult to read, but it is also more rich and original. Singer adds a much needed metaphysical and philosophical dimension to the analysis of relationships between the masculine and feminine in both inter-and intrapersonal relationships. She sees the dynamic energy for this development as coming from the alternating union and polarities of masculine and feminine in the archetype of the androgyne. Some feminist reviewers faulted Singer for not presenting a "highly sophisticated, empirical" study or chided her for delving into "esoterica." Singer suggests the universe is winding up, not down, as it develops more complexity and higher consciousness. The book seems to ramble at times because of the great breadth of material included, but Singer's analyses of non-Western systems of thought and their significance are clear and often brilliant. Hers is a hopeful vision, perhaps overly sanguine at times but nevertheless well worth reading.
Has contributed to the following works: C. G. Jung and the Humanities: Toward a Hermeneutics of Culture (1990); To Be a Woman: The Birth of the Conscious Feminine (1990); The Allure of Gnosticism: The Gnostic Experience in Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Culture (1995).
Rountree, C. On Women Turning 70: Honoring the Voices of Wisdom (1999).
Contemporary Psychology (October 1991). Journal of Analytical Psychology (1972, 1974, 1977). Living Your Myths (video, 1992). Ms. (Nov. 1976).