JUNG (CARL GUSTAV) LETTERS
Lot 238
JUNG (CARL GUSTAV) Series of five typed letters signed ("C.G. Jung"), in English, 1959-1960
Sold for £12,500 (US$ 19,560) inc. premium

Lot Details
JUNG (CARL GUSTAV)
Series of five typed letters signed ("C.G. Jung"), in English, to Hugh Burnett, producer of the BBC programme Face to Face, in the first he arranges to meet him and John Freeman; in the second he expresses gratification that the programme proved so successful but confesses himself reluctant to make another ("...I feel a resistance against an almost immediate return to publicity. I am neither a politician nor a film-star. The answer to public success is modesty. I don't want to insist on my presence in the eyes of the public. They might get tired o me and I would incur their enmity... I am rather afraid of the uncommon commotion such a performance means to me. I am old you know..."); in the third letter he explains his thinking when he talked in the programme about 'knowing' God ("...I know, it is an unconventional way of thinking and I quite understand, if it should be suggested that I am no Christian. Yet I think of myself as a Christian, since I am entirely based upon Christian concepts. I only try to escape their internal contradictions by introducing a more modest attitude, which takes into consideration the immense darkness of the human mind. The Christian idea proves it's vitality by a continuous evolution, just like Buddhism. Our time certainly demands some new thoughts in this respect, as we cannot continue to think in an antique of mediaeval way, when we enter the sphere of religious experience...") and thanks him for photographs ("...It is good for one's selfeducation to see some undeniable evidence for the stupidity of facial expression..."), plus the enclosed carbon of his letter to anther correspondent on the same subject and the public statement prepared from this (the latter marked "Do stencil"); in the fourth letter, he launches into a long explanation of why he does not want to be interviewed again by a so-called professional ("...I am rather frightened of my colleagues on account of so many unfortunate experiences, i.e. unnecessary misunderstandings and prejudices. I will mention only a few of them: archetypes are metaphysical ideas, are mystical, do not exist, I am a philosopher, have a father-complex against Freud and so on... I avoid as much as possible interviews with those of my colleagues who are in need of basic information. I also avoid people with an antagonistic attitude form the start, who only want to know their own ideas, but not mine... I am sick of talking to people who do not even know the psychological ABC...") and recounts the ghastly experience of being interviewed by an American professor ("...I had been then still strong enough to push him aside and give him a free talk about some basic aspects..."); in the last letter sadly declaring that it is all too much for him and he is too old and that it is time to pass the baton on to the younger generation ("...I am also more than doubtful as to the effect o a psychiatric interview, which is more or less a contradictio in adiecto. If you make it attractive to alienists the layman cannot follow it, and if you make it attractive to the laymen the psychiatrists cannot follow it either... The effort to find the true means is definitely too much for me. I cannot provide a ready-made and saleable patent edition of a way of thinking and a way of observing which in the first place should be known and understood... I am sure it is advisable for many reasons to give up this plan. I am sure there are plenty of young men who would be only too happy to earn some laurels in this field..."); together with a file of other letters, cards etc., by Aniela Jaffé ("...Your film of Dr Jung is a most precious document... It is wonderful to have that possibility of remembrance..."), with the carbon of Burnett's letter to her and Mrs Bailey ("...But for your help, there are literally millions of people in the world who would not have felt they had known him personally having seen that film. It is unhappy for me to be writing this letter to you and to realise that a very great man has gone from us..."), William McGuire of the Princeton University Press, and others, and a copy of his printed family memorial notice, the Jung letters 6 pages, headed paper, filing-holes etc., light dust-staining, 4to and oblong 8vo, Küsnacht-Zürich, 1959-1960

Footnotes

  • 'ARCHETYPES ARE METAPHYSICAL IDEAS, ARE MYSTICAL, DO NOT EXIST, I AM A PHILOSOPHER, HAVE A FATHER-COMPLEX AGAINST FREUD AND SO ON' – a remarkable series of letters through which Jung struggles to come to terms with explaining his ideas to a mass public; in one letter giving vent to his disgust and listing all those things he is not but is popularly supposed to be (as enumerated above); in another, aware that the Face to Face programme has caused a great deal of very genuine interest among the public, he tries to explain what he meant on the programme when he talked about 'a knowledge of God' and how he reconciles the Christian concepts from which he is formed with his awareness of 'the immense darkness of the human mind'. The letters of 5 December 1959 and 30 June 1960 are published in C.G. Jung: Letters, ii, edited and selected by Gerhard Adler and Aniela Jaffé (1976).
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