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Jung Stripped Bare: By His Biographers, Even Paperback – March 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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  • Jung Stripped Bare: By His Biographers, Even
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Editorial Reviews

Review

How many "posthumous" lives does a man have to live? Nearly half a century after his death, C. G. Jung is a subject of continual controversies. Every few years, a new life of Jung appears, each promising to provide the missing master key to the mysteries of his life and work, and to lay bare their secrets. However, with every successive "life", Jung becomes shrouded in an ever-increasing web of rumour, gossip, innuendo and fantasy. We may ask why Jung biographies are so filled with shortcomings? How did Jung become a fiction?This book addresses these issues. It demonstrates the pitfalls and fallacies of such works, and sets out how his life and work should be approached on a historical basis, drawing on decades of archival investigation and new documentation. It surveys attempts to write Jung's biography from during his own lifetime until the present; shows how Memories, Dreams, Reflections came to be falsely perceived as his autobiography; and why his Collected Works was never completed. Thus this work lays out an agenda for future studies and discussions of Jung, the reception of his work and its impact on contemporary culture.

About the Author

Sonu Shamdasani is a historian of psychology, and a research associate at the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London. He is the author of Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science and Cult Fictions: C. G. Jung and the Founding of Analytical Psychology, which won the Gradiva Prize of the World Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis in 1999 for the best historical and biographical work. He has edited several books.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Karnac Books; 1 edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855753170
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855753174
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,602,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter FYFE on March 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
This small but deadly book might have been titled "Jung strips bare his biographers" for in it, historian of psychology Sonu Shamdasani takes Jung's own words, meticulously researched and documented, and uses them to expose the factual inaccuracy of nearly every biography of Jung ever written. It's a challenging book because as each fabrication is unearthed we get closer to the facts about Jung but further from his truth. It's a shame Shamdasani doesn't go on to explore why Jung the man generates so many unsupportable stories, but speculation isn't Shamdasani's style. He prefers to use scholarship as a deadly weapon, which he does with devastating precision, leaving behind a staggering body count of reputations. If you have read a biography of Jung, read Shamdasani and find out how little you really know, as I have.
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I strongly recommend Shamdasani's other works, Cult Fictions, and Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology; also Ellenberger's The Discovery of the Unconscious.

Here, Shamdasani has written a concise, modest and deadly-sharp rejoinder to the gossip-infested field of Jung-biographies. Rather than idealizing Jung - as too many of his defenders have done - he challenges us to question the motivations and methods of those who perpetuate caricatures and tabloid speculation as facts.

Key points include the dismantling of the hyperbole and shoddy scholarship perpetrated by recent biographers, as well as the distressing tendency throughout psychoanalytic history to speculate on a controversial individual's diagnosis, and to use it as a form of character assassination.

Jung continues to bring out the paranoid imagination in those who label him simply crazy, or a charlatan. Until his place in history is approached with better scholarship and respect, his actual failings and gifts will simply be missed and replaced by a love of scandal and defamation that even the professionals can't seem to resist.
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Format: Paperback
Shamdasani's book is as much on the art of biography writing as it is on writing biographies about Jung. Having said that, I believe that it is an important book to read when/if bios on Jung are read, such as the recent biography by Deidre Bair, or when others are undertaken in the future. Very cogently written and argued, it would be a mistake to miss Shamdasani's work.
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The author provides, at minimum, the reasons to beware of virtually all that has been written about Jung. He also makes a compelling argument that Jung's biography may never be written. As a student of Jung for over fifty years, I find his observations quite cogent.
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By ruth rhoad on December 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good information and critique of extant biographies. Not much new light on Jung's life and thought by the author most informed.
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