This series of transcribed conversations between two eminent scholars provides nuanced and provocative context for Carl Jung’s Red Book and its influence on contemporary thinking.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential psychologists in history, Jung wrote and illustrated his Red Book between 1914 and 1930, but it wasn’t until 2009 that his heirs allowed the text to be published for a wide readership. A product of Jung’s cognitive methodology “active imagination,” in which one’s psyche is expressed freely as a method of understanding, Red Book is a robust source text for this enthralling collection of dialogues. Hillman (Alchemical Psychology, 2011 etc.), who died in 2011 and spent his life immersed in Jung’s school, and Shamdasani (C.G. Jung: Biography in Books, 2012, etc.), a prominent Jungian historian, discuss a wide range of subjects, including the porous boundaries among psychology, history and literature; imagery and narrative as links to the past and to the unconscious; and how dreams and fantasies may play significant roles in waking life. In addition, a major focus is “the dead” as both a literal and metaphysical concept, as well as the imperative to provide a voice and place for the dead to enable our own living. These conversations, which took place in 2010 and 2011, were originally recorded live, allowing the authors to explore Jung’s text with extemporaneous verve. The resulting conversations, drawn from Jung’s entire body of work, are lively, contemplative and insightful. This intimate and accessible series of dialogues is an exemplary complement to Red Book and also stands alone as a wonderful—if allusive—introduction to the significance of Jung’s work.
A brilliant collection, evocative of all that is wonderful and strange about Jung’s Red Book and about the human psyche itself.