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A Life of Jung.

A Life of Jung. By Ronald Hayman. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002. Pp. xxi, 522. $18.95.)

Jung studies continue to proliferate. After many years of amateurish-seeming scholarship, we appear to have entered a new phase in which thoroughly serious and non-tendentious works are coming out. As also continues to be the case with Freud, we can expect no early end to trade union defenses of Jung, and partisan attacks on the two pioneering founders of depth psychology will almost certainly continue. (Although it may be bootless to try to evaluate whether Freudians or Jungians have been the more notable in disparaging the other rival, it is incontestable that the literature about Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler remains remarkably thin.) The Jung family has up to now been notably reluctant to release essential material. Although for some time now there has been in the publishing works an edition of the thousand-odd letters between Freud and his wife, Martha, the Jung children do not seem even to have read the same number of letters between their father and mother. At some point the privacy of Carl and Emma Jung is going to become compromised, and the existence of such primary documents does mean that there will be abundant new evidence for future students of intellectual history to absorb and try to interpret.

Ronald Hayman's biography of Jung is thoroughly professional. It is written for the most general audience, and does not engage in either the narrow promotion of Jung or the characteristic denigration of him that has been so marked in many earlier works. Hayman's book is readable, and reminds one of the excellent biography of Freud by Ronald Clark, which was published in 1980. Neither of these works may have notably pushed back the borders of the basic historiographical material, but at the same time, they both succeed in presenting the interested reader with an excellent overview of the state of the best existing literature on the subject.

Any serious observer of the history of psychoanalysis will have reservations about popularizations like those by Hayman or Clark. Although it should be necessary, for specialized audiences, to itemize all the detailed points on which such biographers go wrong, it may be more important here to emphasize how judicious and fairminded they both succeed in being. In Jung's case, a much longer book by the distinguished biographer Deirdre Bair is soon to come out, and will doubtless come to be considered the most authoritative account yet of Jung's life and career. Right now, though, Hayman's book remains the best study of Jung that one can recommend. Although amplifications of the work by Hayman, and even Bait, are certain to follow, that should only help ensure that Jung studies get taken more seriously as a worthwhile endeavor. All the animosities between Freud and Jung, carried on for so long by many of their respective followers, should succeed in establishing that this chapter in intellectual history will be a rich one.

Paul Roazen

York University

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Author:Roazen, Paul
Publication:The Historian
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2004
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