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The Red Book (Philemon) 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 201 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393065671
ISBN-10: 0393065677
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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Red Book (Philemon)
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  • Reading The Red Book: An Interpretive Guide to C.G. Jung's Liber Novus
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Editorial Reviews


“This is a volume that will be treasured by the confirmed Jungian or by admirers of beautifully made books or by those with a taste for philosophical allegory.” (Michael Dirda - Washington Post)

About the Author

Sonu Shamdasani, a preeminent Jung historian, is Reader in Jung History at Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London. He lives in London, England.

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Product Details

  • Series: Philemon (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (October 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393065677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393065671
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 2.3 x 18 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1913, a 40 year old world renowned psychologist suffers recurring dreams and visions of world catastrophe. His expertise as a psychiatrist working with incurable psychotics forces him to conclude that he is on a course to madness. His training as a scientist compels him to meticulously document what he imagines will be his unavoidable decline into insanity. With the outbreak of World War I, he experiences relief in the realization that the images that have haunted him over the prior ten months pictured not his own undoing, but that of the world. As the outer conflict unfolds, he continues to record the process unfolding within his own psyche, which is reflective of the events in the larger collective. He continues the process until near the War's end, and then spends more than a decade devotedly elaborating, amplifying and illustrating the material that burst upon him during that time in order to render it comprehensible.

The Red Book is not "personal" as we use that word now. It is "personal" in the sense that it details one individual's very unique experience of coming into relationship with what Jung termed the Self, and in prior times was referred to as God, but it is at the same time very impersonal, and actually universal, in cataloguing the drama inherent in any person's formation of that relationship. The book is at home with The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy, Goethe's Faust, and, as much as anything, The Red Book is Jung's response to Thus Spoke Zarathustra and to Nietzsche's proposition that for modern man, God is dead. The response is that God is neither dead nor to be found in outer religious, national or political containers, but is to be discovered and struggled with in the living of each individual life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I HAVE the Red Book and am in the process of reading it. It is beyond description! This truly unique book represents the personal journal one courageous man took into the dangerous realm of the unconscious in search of an understanding of himself and the structure of the human personality in general. In the process, Jung regained his soul which was lost in the contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation. Liber Novus, as the book is called, represents a prototype of the individuation process, which is seen as the universal form of individual development. Jung was a psychiatrist who worked with schizophrenics. He intuited that their fantasies held meaning important for their healing and saw that some of the fantasies corresponded to mythological motifs. This curiosity lead Jung to his own decision to drop beneath consciousness to explore the realm of these fantasies, the realm of the "dead". He did this without chemicals or inducers but through a process he called active imagination. An inner world opened up to him to explore, which he documented in his writings and paintings. The book itself is like a medieval manuscript created with great care. He worked on the book for 16 years, giving it to others to read and edit with the intention of it one day being published. Liber Novus is a book of wisdom and deserves to be studied. It invites the reader into the world of imagination--like the dream world. I have studied my dreams for years and the language is similar. It shows what we have to learn when we slow down and listen to the inner voices. I thank Jung for giving me a guide to the soul, or human personality--which ever language one prefers.
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Format: Hardcover
During over two decades reading Jung, this is the book I dreamed of some day seeing. Yes, it is incredible.

But instead of adding to the many praises of the Red Book, let me comment on the editorial work that accompanies Jung's text.

Sonu Shamdasani's Introduction is undoubtedly the best available biography of Jung, though focused in context on the critical central years of Jung's life. Shamdasani is a remarkable scholar, and he has spent over 13 years with the primary documents -- material never before made available to a scholar, documents including Jung's seven Black Book journals, the various draft manuscripts of the Red Book, Jung's own dream books and letters from the period, the amazing contemporary diary of Cary F. Baynes, and innumerable other previously unpublished (and largely unknown) primary sources. After Shamdasani's work, all previous biographical evaluations of this period are irrelevant. No researcher previously had access to the basic and extensive source material upon which a biography must be founded, and thus much of what was written in past decades was either pure speculation or blatant perfidy.

BUT, you ask, why is it not in stock for shipment??

Because the publisher, Norton, was uncertain if this huge and expensive book would sell. The first printing was for only 5,000 copies! To the publisher's surprise, these sold out in pre-publication orders two months before the official release date of Oct 7, 2009. This is not an easy book to print, or reprint. Printing is done in Italy on over-sized museum quality papers, with superb binding. Unlike the average hard-cover book, ordering up another ten thousand copies of a book like this is not a simple matter.
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