The results are humiliating, sometimes unsavory. In it, Jung travels the land of the dead, falls in love with a woman he later realizes is his sister, gets squeezed by a giant serpent and, in one terrifying moment, eats the liver of a little child. He worked on his red book — and he called it just that, the Red Book — on and off for about 16 years, long after his personal crisis had passed, but he never managed to finish it.
He actively fretted over it, wondering whether to have it published and face ridicule from his scientifically oriented peers or to put it in a drawer and forget it. Regarding the significance of what the book contained, however, Jung was unequivocal. When he died in , he left no specific instructions about what to do with it.
Later, in , the family transferred it to the bank, where since then it has fulminated as both an asset and a liability. Anytime someone did ask to see the Red Book, family members said, without hesitation and sometimes without decorum, no. The book was private, they asserted, an intensely personal work. The question was met with a vehemence that surprised him.
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He has a buoyant, irreverent wit and what feels like a fully intact sense of wonder. If you happen to have a conversation with him anytime before, say, 10 a. At his house in a leafy suburb of Philadelphia, Martin keeps five thick books filled with notations on and interpretations of all the dreams he had while studying to be an analyst 30 years ago in Zurich, under the tutelage of a Swiss analyst then in her 70s named Liliane Frey-Rohn. Even as some of his peers in the Jungian world are cautious about regarding Carl Jung as a sage — a history of anti-Semitic remarks and his sometimes patriarchal views of women have caused some to distance themselves — Martin is unapologetically reverential.
The first time I met him, at the train station in Ardmore, Pa. The room was cozy and cavelike, with a thick rug and walls painted a deep, handsome shade of blue. There was a Mission-style sofa and two upholstered chairs and an espresso machine in one corner. Several mounted vintage posters of Zurich hung on the walls, along with framed photographs of Carl Jung, looking wise and white-haired, and Liliane Frey-Rohn, a round-faced woman smiling maternally from behind a pair of severe glasses.
Martin tenderly lifted several first-edition books by Jung from a shelf, opening them so I could see how they had been inscribed to Frey-Rohn, who later bequeathed them to Martin. Martin pointed. In addition to practicing as an analyst, Martin is the director of the Philemon Foundation, which focuses on preparing the unpublished works of Carl Jung for publication, with the Red Book as its central project.
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He has spent the last several years aggressively, sometimes evangelistically, raising money in the Jungian community to support his foundation. The relationship between the Jungs and the people who are inspired by Jung is, almost by necessity, a complex symbiosis. Will it disappoint? Will it inspire? How could it not? Shamdasani is He has thick black hair, a punctilious eye for detail and an understated, even somnolent, way of speaking. He is friendly but not particularly given to small talk. Both of these qualities make him, at times, awkward company among both Jungians and Jungs.
One side works to extract; the other to protect. One pushes; one pulls. Even against this backdrop, the Jungs, led by Ulrich Hoerni, the chief literary administrator, have distinguished themselves with their custodial vigor. Jung is portrayed. Shamdasani first approached the family with a proposal to edit and eventually publish the Red Book in , which turned out to be an opportune moment. While the attacks by Noll might have normally propelled the family to more vociferously guard the Red Book, Shamdasani showed up with the right bargaining chips — two partial typed draft manuscripts without illustrations of the Red Book he had dug up elsewhere.
One was sitting on a bookshelf in a house in southern Switzerland, at the home of the elderly daughter of a woman who once worked as a transcriptionist and translator for Jung. The fact that there were partial copies of the Red Book signified two things — one, that Jung had distributed it to at least a few friends, presumably soliciting feedback for publication; and two, that the book, so long considered private and inaccessible, was in fact findable. The specter of Richard Noll and anybody else who, they feared, might want to taint Jung by quoting selectively from the book loomed large.
He had lunches and coffees and delivered a lecture. Finally, after what were by all accounts tense deliberations inside the family, Shamdasani was given a small salary and a color copy of the original book and was granted permission to proceed in preparing it for publication, though he was bound by a strict confidentiality agreement. Having lived more or less alone with the book for almost a decade, Shamdasani — who is a lover of fine wine and the intricacies of jazz — these days has the slightly stunned aspect of someone who has only very recently found his way out of an enormous maze.
When I visited him this summer in the book-stuffed duplex overlooking the heath, he was just adding his 1,st footnote to the Red Book. View all New York Times newsletters. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them — then you will lose your soul — for in that book is your soul. Its church bells clang precisely; its trains glide in and out on a flawless schedule. There are crowded fondue restaurants and chocolatiers and rosy-cheeked natives breezily pedaling their bicycles over the stone bridges that span the Limmat River.
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In summer, white-sailed yachts puff around Lake Zurich; in winter, the Alps glitter on the horizon. Another few hundred analysts in training can be found studying at one of the two Jungian institutes in the area. More than once, I have been told that, in addition to being a fantastic tourist destination and a good place to hide money, Zurich is an excellent city for dreaming.
Jungians are accustomed to being in the minority pretty much everywhere they go, but here, inside a city of ,, they have found a certain quiet purchase. Zurich, for Jungians, is spiritually loaded. Jung began his career, held seminars, cultivated an inner circle of disciples, developed his theories of the psyche and eventually grew old. Many of the people who enroll in the institutes are Swiss, American, British or German, but some are from places like Japan and South Africa and Brazil.
Though there are other Jungian institutes in other cities around the world offering diploma programs, learning the techniques of dream analysis in Zurich is a little bit like learning to hit a baseball in Yankee Stadium. For a believer, the place alone conveys a talismanic grace. Just as I had, Stephen Martin flew to Zurich the week the Red Book was taken from its bank-vault home and moved to a small photo studio near the opera house to be scanned, page by page, for publication.
My first morning there, we walked around the older parts of Zurich, before going to see the book. Zurich made Martin nostalgic. It was here that he met his wife, Charlotte, and here that he developed the almost equally important relationship with his analyst, Frey-Rohn, carrying himself and his dreams to her office two or three times weekly for several years. Undergoing analysis is a central, learn-by-doing part of Jungian training, which usually takes about five years and also involves taking courses in folklore, mythology, comparative religion and psychopathology, among others. Most analysts seem to know their bloodlines.
That morning, Martin and I were passing a cafe when he spotted another American analyst, someone he knew in school and who has since settled in Switzerland. Jungian analysis revolves largely around writing down your dreams or drawing them and bringing them to the analyst — someone who is patently good with both symbols and people — to be scoured for personal and archetypal meaning.
Later that day, we went to the photo studio where the work on the book was already under way.
The room was a charmless space with concrete floors and black walls. Its hushed atmosphere and glaring lights added a slightly surgical aspect. There was the editor from Norton in a tweedy sport coat. There was an art director hired by Norton and two technicians from a company called DigitalFusion, who had flown to Zurich from Southern California with what looked to be a half-ton of computer and camera equipment.
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Shamdasani arrived ahead of us. And so did Ulrich Hoerni, who, along with his cousin Peter Jung, had become a cautious supporter of Shamdasani, working to build consensus inside the family to allow the book out into the world. Hoerni was the one to fetch the book from the bank and was now standing by, his brow furrowed, appearing somewhat tortured. One side of the open page showed an intricate mosaic painting of a giant holding an ax, surrounded by winged serpents and crocodiles.
The other side was filled with a cramped German calligraphy that seemed at once controlled and also, just given the number of words on the page, created the impression of something written feverishly, cathartically. Above the book a 10,pixel scanner suspended on a dolly clicked and whirred, capturing the book one-tenth of a millimeter at a time and uploading the images into a computer.
The Red Book had an undeniable beauty. Its colors seemed almost to pulse , its writing almost to crawl. Everyone in the room seemed frozen in a kind of awe, especially Stephen Martin, who stood about eight feet away from the book but then finally, after a few minutes, began to inch closer to it. When the art director called for a break, Martin leaned in, tilting his head to read some of the German on the page. He only looked up and smiled.
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Two rows of trimmed, towering topiary trees create a narrow passage to the entrance. The house faces the white-capped lake, a set of manicured gardens and, in one corner, an anomalous, unruly patch of bamboo. Andreas is a tall man with a quiet demeanor and a gentlemanly way of dressing.
It is an uneasy kind of celebrity. He and Vreni make tea and politely serve cookies and dispense little anecdotes about Jung to those courteous enough to make an advance appointment. It is because of my grandfather. Jung, who was born in the mountain village of Kesswil, was a lifelong outsider in Zurich, even as in his adult years he seeded the city with his followers and became — along with Paul Klee and Karl Barth — one of the best-known Swissmen of his era. Perhaps his marginalization stemmed in part from the offbeat nature of his ideas. He was mocked, for example, for publishing a book in the late s that examined the psychological phenomenon of flying saucers.
Maybe it was his well-documented abrasiveness toward people he found uninteresting.