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Carl Jung on Freud. Picasso and Paracelsus

Noel Grima Tuesday, 10 January 2023, 14:19 Last update: about 2 years ago

The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature. Author: C.G. Jung. Publisher: Ark Paperbacks Routledge / 1984. Pages: 160pp

Carl Gustav Jung was born in Switzerland in 1875. He was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyist who founded analytical psychology.

His writings have been influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, psychology, and religious studies.

This rather slim book contains speeches and writings from his immense production about the themes listed in the heading of this book review.

As a young research scientist at a psychiatric hospital in Zurich he came to the attention of the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and the two collaborated for a while. For some time Freud saw the younger Jung as the heir he had been seeking to take forward his "new science" of psychoanalysis.


But Jung's research and his personal vision made it difficult for him to follow his older colleague's doctrine and they parted ways. This division was personally painful for Jung.

Then Jung gave up teaching to devote himself to his private practice in psychiatry and to research. He travelled widely and was a prolific author often writing on subjects other than analytical psychology, such as mythology, alchemy, flying saucers, and the problem of time.

Jung was also responsible for defining such influential and widely-used terms such as the Collective Unconscious, Extraversion/Introversion, and Archetypes.

Ark Paperbacks is a division of Routledge Kegan Paul publishers.

This book opens with two speeches by Jung on Theophrastus Paracelsus delivered in 1929 and 1941 respectively.

Born near Einsiedeln in 1493, Paracelsus became Basel's physician but since he refused to deport himself with the gravity expected of him (he refused to wear the robe of office, taught in German and was betrayed by his dearest friend) he lost his post and took to travelling, living in poverty.

At the same time he wrote and wrote, a deluge of words. Despite his appreciation of Martin Luther, he died a good Catholic but his philosophy was completely pagan.

The second group of articles in this book regards his former mentor, Sigmund Freud, an article from 1932 and an appreciation published in 1939, just a few months after Freud's death

One has to analyse carefully what the former disciple writes about his mentor. These two writings are just a drop in the ocean. "In the course of the personal friendship which bound me to Freud for many years," he wrote, "I was permitted a deep glimpse into the mind of this remarkable man. He was a man possessed by a daemon - a man who had been vouchsafed an overwhelming revelation that took possession of his soul and never let him go."

The third theme is an appreciation of the China expert Richard Wilhelm and his I Ching writings. Then come two generic articles On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry and Psychology and Literature followed by an article on James Joyce and Ulysses and one on Pablo Picasso, who was becoming famous in those years.

Like all the books by Jung, these make somewhat difficult reading. His native German and maybe the translations as well force one to read and reread each sentence.



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