Carl Jung’s legendary Red Book at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC
The Red Book C.G. Jung Rubin Museum of Art
On October 7th, Carl Jung’s legendary Red Book (Liber Novus) will finally be available to the general public. The original book will be on display at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, the same day W.W. Norton & Company releases the book in both a German and English translation.
There is quite a lot of mystery surrounding this 95-year-old unpublished work that has been locked in a safe deposit box in Switzerland ever since Jung’s passing in 1961. The author/editor, Sonu Shamdasani, a preeminent Jung historian at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, managed to find a few copies of this rare book and with them in hand finally persuaded Jung’s family to publish the work.
Sara Corbett in the New York Times article, The Holy Grail of the Unconscious, goes into a detailed description of the book’s history and presents the background and social implications of this rare text.
“Jung was big man with wire-rimmed glasses, a booming laugh and a penchant for the experimental; Jung was interested in the psychological aspects of s?ances, of astrology, of witchcraft. He could be jocular and also impatient. He was a dynamic speaker, an empathic listener. He had a famously magnetic appeal with women.”
In order to delve deeply into his unconscious:
“Jung worked to prevent his conscious mind from blocking out what his unconscious mind wanted to show him. Between appointments with patients, after dinner with his wife and children, whenever there was a spare hour or two, Jung sat in a book-lined office on the second floor of his home and actually induced hallucinations ? what he called “active imaginations.” “In order to grasp the fantasies which were stirring in me ?underground.'”
Jung was in his late 30’s when he first wrote down his findings in little Black Books filled with images and fantasies and later transferred the findings to the Red Book between the years 1914 and 1930. He filled 205 pages with calligraphy and images painted in oil, chalk and tempera in a red leather book with what would later become his principle theories in archetypes, the collective unconscious and the process of the development of one’s identity and personality.
A patient of Jung’s recounts his advice:
“I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can ? in some beautifully bound book,” Jung instructed. “It will seem as if you were making the visions banal ? but then you need to do that ? then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church ? your cathedral ? the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. 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.”
John M. Grohol PSYD at PsychCentral mentions that Sonu Shamdasani, the historian, has said the book’s basic message is: “Value your inner life.”
Click here to view full size samples of the artwork at the Philemon Foundation website.
Exhibition: Rubin Museum of Art
The Red Book of C.G. Jung
Creation of a New Cosmology
October 7, 2009 – January 25, 2010
Philemon Foundation Bringing to publication the complete works of C.G. Jung
Carl Jung’s Red Book By John M. Grohol PSYD
The Holy Grail of the Unconscious By Sara Corbett
The Red Book
Carl G. Jung
Edited and Introduced by Sonu Shamdasani, Translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani
15.4 x 11.6 x 1 inches
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