BOLLINGEN: An Adventure in Collecting the Past by William McGuire

BOLLINGEN: An Adventure in Collecting the Past

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The history of the Bollingen Foundation and its primary work, the Bollingen Series of funded writers and publications--an assembled (in dry, orderly, impersonal, yet quietly stylish fashion) by the longtime managing editor of the Series. ""Bollingen,"" of course, is the Swiss village where C. G. Jung had his vacation/weekend refuge--and where Jungian enthusiast Mary Mellon (with mega-wealthy husband Paul) finally met her hero for tea in 1940. (""She had formed an almost passionate transference to lung and had fervently embraced and assimilated his 'ideas""--along with those of Olga Froebe and the Eranos lecture program.) So the Mellons set up the ""Bollingen Foundation"" in 1942--to publish the works of Jung, to support research in fields related to Jungian thought: religion, mysticism, ethnology, archaeology, symbolism. And a unique arrangement for publication was arrived at with Kurt Wolff, who'd recently emigrated and established Pantheon Books. But, as McGuire's exhaustive rundown on the decades of Bollingen ""Fellows"" and ""Series"" demonstrates, the Series became far more eclectic after Mary Mellon's death (at 42), and with the editorship of John Barrett, Only about a third of the Series has been in the ""Jungian orbit"": the Collected dung (McGuire details the edition's ""troubled"" course); the I Ching; the ethnology of Maud Oakes (Fellow #1) and others. The rest? Everything from French poetry editions, lsamu Noguchi, and a one-volume Plato to the selected writings of Miguel de Unamuno, literary history by Irving Howe, and Nabokov's translation of Eugene Onegin--which provides a rare bit of lively literary fun here. (""One of Winer's tasks, in copyediting the commentary, was to watch for Nabokov's verbal attacks on other translators, writers and the Soviet Union. . . ."") McGuire is nothing if not complete: he reviews the notorious Ezra Pound/Bollingen Prize case (which didn't really involve the Bollingen directly); he describes the Foundation's non-publishing endeavors (funding archaeological digs); he even gives an intriguing mini-history of the Bollingen dust-jacket. So, while most readers will find the almost catalogue-like format here rather uncongenial, students of Foundation and publishing history will value this thorough, attractively restrained, plan-but-graceful chronicle.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press