Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book

Overview

With Jung’s Red Book as their point of departure, two leading scholars explore issues relevant to our thinking today.
In this book of dialogues, James Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani reassess psychology, history, and creativity through the lens of Carl Jung’s Red Book. Hillman, the founder of Archetypal Psychology, was one of the most prominent psychologists in America and is widely acknowledged as the most original figure to emerge from Jung’s school. Shamdasani, editor and ...

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Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book

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Overview

With Jung’s Red Book as their point of departure, two leading scholars explore issues relevant to our thinking today.
In this book of dialogues, James Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani reassess psychology, history, and creativity through the lens of Carl Jung’s Red Book. Hillman, the founder of Archetypal Psychology, was one of the most prominent psychologists in America and is widely acknowledged as the most original figure to emerge from Jung’s school. Shamdasani, editor and cotranslator of Jung’s Red Book, is regarded as the leading Jung historian. Hillman and Shamdasani explore a number of the issues in the Red Book—such as our relation with the dead, the figures of our dreams and fantasies, the nature of creative expression, the relation of psychology to art, narrative and storytelling, the significance of depth psychology as a cultural form, the legacy of Christianity, and our relation to the past—and examine the implications these have for our thinking today.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A gnarly urtext by psychologist Carl Jung is extolled but not illuminated in this incoherent series of transcribed dialogues. The late Jungian psychoanalyst Hillman (The Soul’s Code) and historian Shamdasani (C.G. Jung: A Biography in Books) engage in 15 redundant conversations about the Red Book, a tome recently unearthed, edited, and translated by Shamdasani, in which Jung explored the archetypal, mythic figures that populated his fantasies. The dialogues’ deep-sounding yet unproductive theme is that these figures represent “the dead are animating us”—figuratively, the collective human memory that shapes our psyches. From this dramatic but poorly developed restatement of Jungian mysticism, the authors proceed through sketchy, meandering discussions that touch on Jung’s testy relationship with Christianity, the obscurantism of latter-day Jungian analysts, and the need to infuse the Red Book’s literary, humanistic approach into psychology’s current scientistic model. Unfortunately, the authors’ exposition and elaboration of Jung’s arcane and often vague ideas is very unsatisfying, in no small part because of the discussion format. Their conversations are rambling, repetitive, and unsystematic; since both authors are experts, they understand each other’s vague allusions without explaining them to uninitiated readers, who will gain little understanding of Jung from this project. There are reasons that most authors write books rather than just transcribing conversations, and this ill-conceived endeavor spotlights them. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency LLC. (Aug. 26)
Kirkus Reviews
This series of transcribed conversations between two eminent scholars provides nuanced and provocative context for Carl Jung's Red Book and its influence on contemporary thinking. Widely regarded as one of the most influential psychologists in history, Jung wrote and illustrated his Red Book between 1914 and 1930, but it wasn't until 2009 that his heirs allowed the text to be published for a wide readership. A product of Jung's cognitive methodology "active imagination," in which one's psyche is expressed freely as a method of understanding, Red Book is a robust source text for this enthralling collection of dialogues. Hillman (Alchemical Psychology, 2011 etc.), who died in 2011 and spent his life immersed in Jung's school, and Shamdasani (C.G. Jung: Biography in Books, 2012, etc.), a prominent Jungian historian, discuss a wide range of subjects, including the porous boundaries among psychology, history and literature; imagery and narrative as links to the past and to the unconscious; and how dreams and fantasies may play significant roles in waking life. In addition, a major focus is "the dead" as both a literal and metaphysical concept, as well as the imperative to provide a voice and place for the dead to enable our own living. These conversations, which took place in 2010 and 2011, were originally recorded live, allowing the authors to explore Jung's text with extemporaneous verve. The resulting conversations, drawn from Jung's entire body of work, are lively, contemplative and insightful. This intimate and accessible series of dialogues is an exemplary complement to Red Book and also stands alone as a wonderful--if allusive--introduction to the significance of Jung's work. A brilliant collection, evocative of all that is wonderful and strange about Jung's Red Book and about the human psyche itself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393088946
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/26/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 382,240
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James Hillman (1926–2011) was the author of many influential books including The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling.

Sonu Shamdasani is a preeminent Jung historian at University College London and the author of C. G. Jung: A Biography in Books. He lives in London.

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