- Series: Portable Library
- Paperback: 659 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics (December 9, 1976)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140150706
- ISBN-13: 978-0140150704
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Portable Jung (Portable Library) Paperback – December 9, 1976
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Text: English, German (translation)
About the Author
Carl Gustav Jung was, together with Freud and Adler, one of the three great pioneers in modern psychiatry. He was born in 1865 in Switzerland, where he studied medicine and psychiatry and later became one of Sigmund Freud’s early supporters and collaborators. Eventually, serious theoretical disagreements (among them Jung’s view of the religious instinct in man) led to a doctrinal and personal break between the two famed psychiatrists. Dr. Jung was the author of many books, and he lived and practiced for many years in his native Zurich. He died in 1961.
Joseph Campbell was interested in mythology since his childhood in New York, when he read books about American Indians, frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History, and was fascinated by the museum's collection of totem poles. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Columbia in 1925 and 1927 and went on to study medieval French and Sanskrit at the universities of Paris and Munich. After a period in California, where he encountered John Steinbeck and the biologist Ed Ricketts, he taught at the Canterbury School, then, in 1934, joined the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he retained for many years. During the 1940s and '50s, he helped Swami Nikhilananda to translate the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. The many books by Professor Campbell include The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Myths to Live By, The Flight of the Wild Gander, and The Mythic Image. He edited The Portable Arabian Nights, The Portable Jung, and other works. He died in 1987.
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Top customer reviews
And, with Joseph Campbell as editor, a reader can never go far wrong. Campbell also was one who knew what 'it' is all about.
Many of the themes Jung is most famous for are treated here, substantially, if not always in great depth. There are 650 pages of Jung's best--
Ego, Archetypes, the Unconscious, Self, Myth, Alchemy, Synchronicity, the Personality Types, 'God' and religion, and lots more.
Among the most meaningful of the sections for me is the final one, 'Answer To Job' wherein we can learn that truth, while never in conflict with itself, may appear to be so. Nevertheless, some sound inner foundation can be found and sustained and therein life's greatest fulfillment may be realized.
Some have complained that Jung is too 'mystical' but I can't argue at all with his assertion that nothing exists until some form of consciousness becomes aware of it. There are indeed great depths within each of us that we may never fully comprehend but why would we not at least go as far as we can?
In "Answer To Job", Jung writes:
"Only that which acts upon me do I recognize as real and actual. But that which has no effect upon me might as well not exist. The religious need longs for wholeness, and therefore lays hold of the images of wholeness offered by the unconscious, which, independently of the conscious mind, rise up from the depth of our psychic nature....even the enlightened person remains what he is, and is never more than his own limited ego before the One who dwells within him, whose form has no knowable boundaries, who encompasses him on all sides, fathomless as the abysms of the earth and vast as the sky."
A further note on this Kindle edition: There is no Table of Contents, giving the titles of the talks in this book, nor page numbers. So there is no easy way to navigate out of one of Jung's talks. Additionally, many pages are split into parts by very long (sometimes one full page) footnotes. All in all, reading this Kindle edition is difficult, not to say "a chore".
Joseph Campbell edits this volume and writes a nice introduction, explaining briefly Jung's major achievements. At the end, he's included an outline of Jung's complete works, which catalogs the amazing fecundity of Jung's mind. I was hoping that Campbell, hero of mythology that he is, would have included some of Jung's mythological work in this book, like a clip from "Symbols of Transformation," but he didn't. What a pity.
After Campbell's intro, the book consists of three parts: one focusing on Jung's theory, one on Jung's application of his theory, and the third part contains some curiosities that demonstrate the range of Jung's thinking.
(Part I) Introduces Jung's Big Ideas. The collective unconscious; archetypes; the psychological types (introversion/extroversion and all that jazz). Most of this section is easy and stimulating to get through, until you hit the psychological types, which get very technical. If you think about how the types apply in real life to people you know, it makes plowing through Jung's dry descriptions a little easier.
(Part II) Jung in action. Campbell gives us a healthy serving of Jung's dream analyses, which I recommend skimming, unless you're really into alchemical symbology. The two essays on contemporary life are still fresh.
(Part III) The essay on synchronicity is a mind-bending read, and it makes you suddenly aware of all those little coincidences in life. "An Answer to Job" starts off as a playful, almost Nietzschean essay where Jung performs a psychological deconstruction on the god of the Old Testament. Then it degenerates into a discussion of the psychological development of the idea of god as traced through the Bible, which turns out to be not exciting as it sounds.
Even if Jung occasionally crosses the boundary of credibility, you get the sense that he's a true scholar, dedicated first and foremost to seeking the truth. This volume is a good peep into the mind of one of the twentieth century's most daring thinkers exploring the uncharted depths of the human psyche.
Another good intro to Jung that's easier to get through is "Man and his Symbols."