A romanticized review of the public life and theories of the well-known Swiss psychologist. Spanning the time between Jung's...

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JUNG: A Biography

A romanticized review of the public life and theories of the well-known Swiss psychologist. Spanning the time between Jung's childhood as the son of a disillusioned Protestant vicar and his death in 1961 at the age of 85, West German writer Wehr wends his way through the psychologist's explorations of alchemy, gnosticism, the occult, mythology, ancient history, and Eastern religions; and Jung's travels in northern and central Africa, India, and the Pueblo villages of the US. Offering far more than a biography, Wehr constructs explanations of how Jung's study and personal experience led to his formulations on the collective unconscious, archetypes, anima and animus, shadow, sacred marriage, synchronicity, and other theories, inserting numerous short quotes from Jung's writings as weft as quotes from those who knew him. But in exchange, he gives only the briefiest of glimpses into Jung's family life: for example, his five children are mentioned little beyond the fact of their births. What could have been a useful coverage of Jung's life and work in this lengthy treatise is, at the same time, marred by Wehr's almost fawning adoration of everything the psychologist did, felt, said, wrote, and even dreamed. Wehr's half-hearted attempts to defend Jung's oft-challenged statements on the difference between ""the Aryan unconscious"" and that of Jews are only slightly less revealing of Wehr's world view than his description of Jung's eagerness about a trip to central Africa and the ""prospect of being able to meet non-European, noncivilized people at first hand on the spot, and study the primitivity of their psyche!"") Ardent devotees of Jung may enjoy the intense and protective devotion here, but most readers will chafe at the prejudices and partisan oversimplification of some very complex issues in this larger-than-life portrait of the man.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Shambhala--dist. by Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987