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Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav), 1875-1961
The Red Book. The art of psychology 

Edited and Introduced by Sonu Shamdasani, Translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani. When C.G. Jung embarked on the extended self-exploration he called his "confrontation with the unconscious", the heart of it was The Red Book, a large, illuminated volume he created between 1914 and 1930. Here he developed his principal theories-of the archetypes, the collective unconscious and the process of individuation-that transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with treatment of the sick into a means for higher development of the personality.  While Jung considered The Red Book to be his most important work, only a handful of people have ever seen it. Now, in a complete facsimile and translation, it is available to scholars and the general public. It is an astonishing example of calligraphy and art on a par with The Book of Kells and the illuminated manuscripts of William Blake. The publication of The Red Book is a watershed that will cast new light on the making of modern psychology. JUST before the first world war, the 38-year-old Swiss psychologist was troubled by awful dreams and visions. Analytical to the core, he embarked on what he later described as his "confrontation with the unconscious", and documented the lot. The material went through various drafts before Jung recopied it all, using an ornate gothic script, into the single big, red, leather journal which gives the previously "lost" Red Book its popular name. Jung went on to add historiated (enlarged) initials, ornamental borders and a substantial number of paintings. Though it was written for public consumption, Jung eventually decided not to publish it and put it to one side. After his death in 1961, the Jung family declined access to all comers. But nearly 50 years later, after years of dialogue with the Jungs, translation and editing, it is now published. And for such an arcane work, it is generating quite a buzz. Its true importance, however, will be to the western intellectual tradition as a whole. The Red Book, resembling a medieval illuminated text and the works of William Blake, offers us an important insight into a time before the intellectual divide between art and psychology made such a work of inner exploration, of psychology-as-literature (and maybe even as art), less thinkable. 
2009 , Hardback   416pp., 300 x 380mm., 212 colour illustrations, £195

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