NWA Friends of Jung visits DC, virtually

New member Donna Dover, recently of Washington DC, told a friend of hers about The Red Book and about the current exhibit of the book at the Library of Congress, and asked her friend to attend and report back. Mary Anne says:

“I visited the Library of Congress yesterday to see the exhibit on Carl Jung’s Red Book.  Passing through the library to the exhibition room was wonderful in itself—the place is so changed from the scruffy building in which I worked back in 1976.  The Jung exhibit is on the second floor, immediately behind the wonderful exhibition of Thomas Jefferson’s library.  The books have been liberated from the vaults and are now displayed in two-sided glass cases so that you can see and appreciate the spines, too.  They are in the same order as Jefferson arranged them:  separate sections for Science, Memory (history), Reason (philosophy), and Imagination (fine arts).

The Red Book exhibit starts with some very interesting exposition on Jung and his role in the development of psychiatry, his discovery of Freud and excitement at becoming Freud’s protege, and his falling out with Freud.  The exhibit includes the actual hand-written letters between Jung and Freud documenting their break-up.  Freud’s letter refers to Jung’s “illness,” suggesting that the mania that led Jung to begin the Red Book was already becoming manifest.

Your allegation that I treat my followers as patients is demonstrably untrue. . . . It is a convention among us analysts that none of us need feel ashamed of his own neurosis. But one [meaning Jung] who while behaving abnormally keeps shouting that he is normal gives ground for the suspicion that he lacks insight into his illness. Accordingly, I propose that we abandon our personal relations entirely.  S. Freud.

The Red Book itself is displayed in a case, opened to pages 54 and 55 with their gorgeous illustrations.

It was exciting to be able to see the varying texture of the colors and the gold leaf on the pages as Jung had painted it.  Enlarged images of several of the other pages are also displayed, and on a desk were three copies of the large reproductions of the book for visitors to leaf through and enjoy.  Very interesting!  The caligraphy is beautiful but my high school German was no match for most of it.  I was a little disappointed that there was no English translation for the text, and I am looking for that online now.

The exhibit also delves into Jung’s possible inspirations for the book, including William Blake, and Jung’s own influence on 20th century arts and culture, from Jackson Pollock, Martha Graham and Fellini to George Lucas.  It also traces some of his impact on modern psychology, for instance, the ideas on which the Myers-Briggs test is based.  There was a guest book at the exit, so I wrote “Thank you on behalf of the Northwestern Arkansas Friends of Jung.”  I took several copies of the exhibition booklet and will send them along.

Thank you again to alerting me to this! “

Thanks for Mary Anne for such a great report and for signing in on our behalf!

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The NWA Friends of Jung meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month in the library at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Sunday Dream Group meets the 1st and 3rd Sundays from 2–3:30 in the library at St. Paul’s.

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