Madnesses

John Kerr

  • The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement by Richard Noll
    Princeton, 387 pp, £19.95, January 1995, ISBN 0 691 03724 8

It has taken the entire century to bring Freud to the judgment of history. Whatever shall we do about Jung?

His beginnings were not promising and his father frankly worried about him. Dominated by a mother at once unreliable and eerily intimate, the child was an asocial miscreant, rejected by his peers. Home was no better – the atmosphere was ‘unbreathable’ – and when he could not escape to the countryside the boy began to explore his own interior. The father was chaplain to a nearby mental hospital, and the mother once a patient there, but the boy was too young to know that nervousness ran on both sides of his family and that inwardness was not a proper tack for a child with ‘hereditary taint’.

Imagination proved an ally. To relieve periodic choking fits he took to visualising golden angels against a blue background. And there were spaces inside spaces where one might be safe. He carved a tiny mannikin, hid it beneath the attic floorboards, and for a year ritually presented the little man with miniature scrolls written in a secret language.

Guilty in his demeanour when challenged, Jung was a natural target at school. His teachers punished him, the other boys tormented him, and he could find no better solution than to fake dizzy spells so that he might stay at home. He was so convincing in this role that the doctors worried his father into believing he might be incurable. It was too much for a pastor without private funds: ‘I have lost what little I had, and what will become of the boy if he cannot earn his own living?’

More startled than stung, Jung rallied and through sheer will power began to resist the faints, which had taken on a life of their own. It was his first experience of what it was to overcome a neurosis. He grew to the size of a Notre Dame linebacker, as the Harvard psychologist Henry Murray later estimated him, and his classmates learned to tolerate, even like him. Nicknamed ‘Father Abraham’ for his opinions on everything, and finally apprised of the fact that he would have to work if he was to excel, the sermonising Gymnasium student appeared to have found himself at last, but inwardly he still thought of himself as a ‘Corrupt and inferior person’.

His secret hope was to be somebody else. The romance of Jung’s second self, his ‘Personality No 2’, would later dominate his remarkable memoirs, composed in old age with the assistance of Aniela Jaffé and at the instigation of Pantheon’s Kurt Wolff in one of the great publishing coups of the century. But neither Wolff nor Jung was so simple-minded as to think the world wanted to know exactly who ‘Personality No 2’ was. By Jung’s own account, it all began in childhood – while he was being reprimanded by a neighbour for commandeering the fellow’s rowing boat. As he took the scolding, Jung began to feel that he was really somebody else, somebody who had lived a long time ago, somebody very important. A not uncommon family legend for the time had it that Goethe had been Jung’s great-grandfather. What Jung hoped, and sometimes believed, but would never tell for the record, was that he was a reincarnation of Goethe.

It did make sense. Had not Goethe winced at the sight of a crucifix? Had not Goethe known the sufferings of the inner self? Had not Goethe celebrated temptation and somehow made the world believe that one could find redemption that way? But it was no easy business to be Goethe. One should not disbelieve the statements of Jung’s memoirs, the first three chapters especially, which make it plain that adolescence continued to be a struggle and that keeping in meaningful contact with ‘Personality No 2’ was difficult.

‘The boy is interested in everything imaginable,’ his father commented within earshot, ‘but he does not know what he wants.’ Jung let his classmates think he might go into literature, but he opted for science, more properly for medicine, the safest road for a scholarship student to take. In his college years he took up the study of the occult by participating in séances with the secret connivance of his mother and by special courtesy of a teenage cousin who was in love with him and who could contact the illustrious ancestors of both sides of the family. In a past life, she had been Goethe’s mistress, and in yet another past life, mother to a previous incarnation of Jung.

College life had its own lessons. He learned through experience to moderate his alcohol intake and learned, too, that he could now read Nietzsche without risking his own sanity. His father died during the first year, leaving Jung the man of the house, but he returned regularly in Jung’s dreams, leaving Jung too embarrassed to tell him he was dead. Thereafter, Jung seriously wondered about survival beyond the grave. ‘He died in time for you,’ was the mother’s comment.

The proportions of ‘Jung’ could already be outlined. At the student drinking and literary society, he expounded on philosophy and science; among his favourite targets were the liberal Protestant theology of Albrecht Ritschl and the biological materialism of ‘the Berlin Jew’, the physiologist Emil DuBois-Reymond. As for making his living, he ultimately settled on psychiatry after reading in Krafft-Ebing’s textbook that it was a field where theory still bore the personal stamp of the author.

Jung arrived at the Burghölzli hospital on 10 December 1900. Thus began what could have been the greatest psychiatric career of the 20th century. No account of Jung is adequate that does not take note of how gifted he was in his chosen profession. He was an intuitive type, by his own later definition. He was sensitive to the point of clairvoyance and to the point where he had sometimes to protect himself from the company of people. He was also a voracious reader who could consume and retain huge tracts of literature. He had a commanding personal presence, instant authority and seemingly limitless physical energy.

As an endeavour psychiatry is necessary, tortuous and grimly paradoxical. What is dispensed is not sanity, but madness. The healing art consists in finding a kind of madness that the patient – and neighbours and family – can live with. Few men have possessed the sort of talent that Jung brought to this delicate, but potent encounter: the young R.D. Laing to a great degree, Harry Stack Sullivan when he was in the mood, D.W. Winnicott with children, and very few others. The patients loved Jung; staff were in awe.

For most of this century, the kind of madness people have been willing to settle for has involved such things as guilty childhood secrets, terrible traumas and the irrationality of sexual desire. More recently, chemical imbalances have also become acceptable. But at the beginning of the century, madness meant hereditary taint, nervous fatigue, endogenous toxins and the like, all girded around by a strange nomenclature and informed by the deepest resignation. Jung the psychiatrist was at the very heart of the movement from one kind of madness to another: the historical moment amplified his gifts.

The career was meteoric. It took Jung only six years to become internationally known for his pioneering work with the word-association test. An ordinary medical term, ‘complex’, took on a new meaning and became a commonplace. Jung held the copyright. Professionally, his opinions were sought on subjects ranging from the Ganser syndrome to schizophrenia. It was universally assumed that when his chief, Eugen Bleuler, retired, Jung would take over the Zürich chair in psychiatry and the directorship of the Burghölzli hospital.

What happened instead is well known: Jung bolted. A question that is not usually asked, but should be, is why he elected to join forces with Freud when he did. Jung certainly didn’t need to. One answer is that he was still trying to discover a reliable way of making contact with Personality No 2 – and for a time he thought Freud could help him. Then, too, as Freud was becoming controversial thanks to the Dora case, Jung could now play rebel on a grand scale.

Jung the psychoanalyst was nearly as gifted as Jung the psychiatrist. And fittingly he rose to the same degree of pre-eminence in the new movement: editor of the first journal, official head of the International Psychoanalytic Association, gentile ‘son and heir’ of the man who had invented the procedure. But weaknesses began to show. Over the long haul, Jung had a hard time keeping himself disentangled from his patients. One of these, Sabina Spielrein, became his lover before she departed for Vienna to pursue her own psychoanalytic career. Protracted therapeutic intimacy has its temptations and its dangers; Jung seemed not to know how to fend these off while yet remaining in a dialogue. And as with patients, so with Freud, Very close became too close.

They challenged each other: Jung believed Freud was having an affair with his sister-in-law, and that the triangle was skewing Freud’s theories. Freud took a closer look at Jung’s dream of his father, and decided it was all Oedipal. In truth Jung’s biography is open to Freud’s gloss but Jung insisted – and eventually persuaded the world he was somehow right – that there was more to know. When the time came to part company, the two men did so with professionalism, hitting on the pious fiction that theirs was a theoretical disagreement. Central in the formation of that legend was an unreadable and incomprehensibly massive work by Jung, Transformations and Symbols of the Libido. In this work, he took a mountain of material from the available literature on ancient mythology, attacked it assiduously with the machinery of analytic interpretation, and ended up with a kind of lurid, libidinal swamp that caused reviewers’ jaws to drop. Intellectually, the book was a tangle of incompatible concepts, but at least one of them had enduring value: the son needs to separate from the mother in order to individuate. Freud was not pleased, but he wasn’t outraged either. He was confused. Later, it became good business for Jung to note that the book had introduced the notion of mythological survivals in the unconscious – and that he knew ahead of time that it would cost him his friendship with Freud. In retrospect, it became the first distinctively ‘Jungian’ work.

As the two tectonic plates came apart, a new kind of analysis was promised in Zurich – ‘analytical psychology’ – which was supposed to surpass the Viennese kind by recognising the forward strivings of the patient. Interpretation was no longer ‘semiotic’ in the sense that it detected everywhere the signs of libidinal drive; it was now to be ‘hermeneutic’, in the sense that it saw the manifestations of the unconscious as symbolic communications from a better, wiser, deeper self. Jung was already halfway to Kohut, the historical differences in their idioms notwithstanding. But the reconstituted society of Swiss analysts never really got off the ground as the Great War supervened.

And then what happened? Everyone who might have known is dead. In 1916, Jung founded a local Psychology Club composed largely of former patients plus a few remaining colleagues. And about the same time, Toni Wolff, another former patient, became his semi permanent mistress.

After the war, Jung reappeared with yet another massive work in hand, Psychological Types. This one was coherent. ‘Introversion’ and ‘extraversion’ joined ‘complex’ in the language. And in smaller pieces he was already constructing a still more elaborate system in which the unconscious was peopled by a collection of ‘archetypes’, primal structures capable of directing thought, feeling and action in more or less interpretable ways provided one knew what one was looking for. Jung spoke of these archetypes with great conviction. And he could be spellbinding when he went on to demonstrate how readily their activity might be detected in everything from fairy tales to Thus Spake Zarathustra. By the mid-Twenties, he was dispensing neither sanity nor madness, though to be fair, he still recognised the latter when he saw it. He was dispensing something ambiguously lodged between dissociation, introspection and spirituality. ‘Jung’ had arrived. The next four decades witnessed, and attested to, the unfolding of a great personality.

Interested in everything imaginable indeed. Counting posthumously published seminars, Jung’s collected works run to more than twenty-five volumes on the bookshelf and one could win many a wager daring the unsuspecting to name a topic that is not touched on there. Flying saucers, alchemy and electro-galvanic machines. Ancient initiation rites and schizophrenic delusions. Freud, of course, but also Bergson, William James and Count Keyserling. Mandalas, yoga and the I Ching, plus warnings to the Western mind about becoming too deeply immersed in Eastern practices. Archetypes, psychological types and, regrettably, racial types. Wotan until the reader is woozy. And we are just warming up ...

Holding all this together was one of the most popular psychological ideas ever – ‘the collective unconscious’. It is not finally a coherent notion. Like ‘primary process’, it designates an amalgam of different phenomena which deserve to be more sharply distinguished, but which suit a theory better by being lumped together in a single category. Still, it is a notion that people like to believe in. When students first learn about Jung, they are attracted. Here is a way of talking about the inner world that seems accepting, that foregoes the Freudian accusations of perversity, hostility and just plain bad intentions. A kinder, gentler unconscious, George Bush might say.

Jung could never quite match Freud as a literary persona, but then who can? Jung’s forte was rather his therapeutic attitude. Much of what he had to say about treatment was both humane and wise, very much to be preferred to the blank-screen superiority that predominated for so long in orthodox Freudianism. The problem for the historian as for the biographer is that ultimately Jung could not maintain this attitude, either privately or publicly. Protecting both his vacations and his solitude, Jung saw patients for only half the year; he routinely farmed out his cases to an entourage of assistants, most of them women, some of them highly capable. And in his writing, he holds onto the unconverted reader’s point of view for only brief spans before becoming newly overwhelmed by an inner urgency to go into arcane disquisitions about irredeemably obscure matters. Finally, the performance gets to be infuriating. Jung can be very, very sane, and very much worth listening to, but only on the third Thursday of each month.

Historians were going to have their problems with this man in any case, but then at the very end of his life came the memoirs, the first three chapters of which he wrote himself, to throw history off the scent. Jung outfoxed everyone by being belatedly honest about his childhood. This allowed him to slip past the reader an account of his private experiences during the First World War, in the form of a somewhat prettified rehash of an already mythologised version given to a seminar in 1925 and theretofore available only in typescript and, for a time, only to the initiated. It described a ‘confrontation with the unconscious’ interpreted archetypally and, apparently for that reason, ending happily.

The period of time when this inner ‘confrontation’ took place is clearly critical. Any attempt to reconstruct Jung’s development chronologically necessarily comes to fix on the First World War and its immediate aftermath as the crucial interval during which the erstwhile psychiatrist-psychoanalyst transformed himself into the philosopher of the collective unconscious. But in the face of literary heirs guarding his reputation and his papers, history has had no better recourse than to accept Jung’s own account. And that, in yet another version of the historical sleight of hand which appears de rigueur for modern systems of depth psychology, means accepting the theory that grew out of an experience as though it were logically prior. Henri Ellenberger, a psychiatrist by training and an inspired historian of the ‘unconscious’, was sufficiently impressed by Jung’s disclosures to allow Jung to review the chapter on himself in The Discovery of the Unconscious. Which caused the historian of medicine, Erwin Ackerknecht, to question Ellenberger’s judgment. Though otherwise an admirer of Ellenberger’s work, Ackerknecht said in private that Ellenberger ‘was taken in by that crypto-Nazi crook’.

Whatever else happened in the decisive period one thing is certain: Jung went more than half mad. One can make out that much. Moreover, there were, as there always must be, reasons for his breakdown and one can half make these out, too. Yet there seems to have been a curious clarity to it all. Or at least to what we know about it. As the pieces of Jung’s personality ruptured and split, he was able to observe his own dissolution with exquisite exactitude, and the observation itself became a kind of therapy. Then there is the perplexing fact that Jung survived his madness, built on it, and in the end prospered. He was mad, but he was not just mad. There is more to know.

This is the historical lacuna that Richard Noll exploits in his disturbing and often illuminating book. Noll comes to the quest for the historical Jung – his phrase – with a broad background in Jungianism, psychiatry and shamanism and his training stands him in good stead much of the time. He understands in a trice, for example, that ‘active imagination’, an important facet of Jung’s revised therapeutics, is actually a dissociative technique. Similarly, he is not the least bit tantalised by the hope that the unconscious might contain mythological survivals of significant spiritual or ethical import. The evidence for such an assertion, Noll rightly points out, is worse than fragmentary. It is tainted through and through by suggestion and collusion, and even the most extraordinary examples are liable to be undermined as the residue of forgotten memory, or ‘cryptomnesia’, a phenomenon that the psychiatrist Jung knew well but that the philosopher of the collective unconscious conveniently forgot.

In his examination of these issues, Noll provides historical footholds for those such as the prominent Jungian analyst Michael Fordham who have raised serious questions as to what is really going on in a treatment that ultimately encourages the patient into active imagination with the promise that he or she will experience ‘the union of the opposites’. Or that urges patients to ‘amplify’ their dream symbols by taking out mythological picture-books from the library. Myth is undoubtedly too much neglected in the modern world, but this is scarcely the reason people become psychologically ill. In this context, some of what Noll reports, such as the behaviour of Herman Hesse’s analyst, Jung’s colleague Josef Lang, is truly chilling. But contemporary therapeutics are not Noll’s real interest. He is after bigger game.

At the turn of the century, there was a host of small, élitist groups throughout Europe, and most especially in German-speaking Europe, which owed their existence to a widespread interest in non-Christian forms of transcendence. Free association applied to political groups before it applied to words: an interest in esoteric mysteries appeared to many to be a perfectly fine reason to get together. The specific theology of these groups varied, but certain themes and practices recurred so frequently that devotees could and did sample widely from a common literature. One has to have a taste for gobbledegook to go very far into the specifics of their beliefs, and the heterogeneity of their endeavours needs to be respected, but some common features may usefully be noted. Sun-worship was preferred. There were ancient mysteries to be understood. Ancestral spirits could be contacted. The racial genius, the spirit of the Volk, was ready to be tapped within. If the Christ lived on in one’s breast, it was because He was an Aryan. Enlightenment proceeded in stages. Inner renewal was the only antidote to cultural and spiritual degeneration. And so forth. Moreover, by a kind of syncretistic impulse that made perfect sense to the initiate, but which horrifies today’s scholar, these basic themes were most often projected backward onto various cults of the ancient world thence to be read forward again as a kind of racial destiny.

A whole reticulated world of small groups arose, and it was not below the floorboards either. Composers, generals, psychologists, and writers brushed elbows with Theosophists, Anthroposophists, Monists, crystal-gazers, nudists and whatnot. Publishers had a field day, providing both popular and scholarly accounts of everything from the mysteries of Mithra to the secrets of the runes. And adventurers of all kinds – sexual, artistic, political and psychological – found spiritual justification as well as a reservoir of ready recruits.

The argument of The Jung Cult depends on the recovery of this lost continent of belief, a continent whose fate it was to be submerged beneath the tidal wave of a Nazi state determined to have a monopoly on all things völkisch. Arguing both on the basis of personal relationships and textual reference, Noll demonstrates that this élitist mystical movement constituted a part of Jung’s intellectual world even before he broke with Freud – and that it became virtually the whole of his context for the three decades thereafter. If history has hitherto not understood what Jung was saying, Noll contends, it is because history has not understood to whom he was speaking for the greater part of his life. Moreover, as an argument based on changing social contexts, the völkisch mystery angle cancels itself out felicitously. Between Hitler and the Second World War, the network of völkisch cults disappeared, and with it an entire milieu. And Jung, now caught in the spotlight of his own anti-semitic remarks, needed to find a whole new style of discourse, which explains his post-war passion for alchemy, a topic that had been available to him right along.

Noll’s thesis also makes good biographical sense. That ‘Father Abraham’ should rematerialise as völkisch guru fits, just as it seems appropriate that Freud’s former friend should take to recasting the various contemporaneous cult beliefs in the universalist terms of a depth psychological system. The thesis, moreover, stitches together aspects of Jung’s career that otherwise seem quixotic, ranging from the kind of journals he published in to his lifetime preoccupation with putative racial differences in the unconscious. Perhaps only scholars will appreciate the emergence of a hitherto unrecognised dimension in Transformations and Symbols of the Libido: much of what Jung was interpreting there by the way of solar symbolism had implicit reference to an inner path of völkisch transcendence. But any reader can appreciate that when Jung started to go mad following the break with Freud, he naturally hoped that the route he was following might lead to a deeper truth such as had been widely hinted at in the books of his library – and not simply to the banalities of psychosis.

Yet the question remains of just how serious Jung was about initiating his own mystery religion. After all, the ‘Collective unconscious’ might be a justification for a variety of idiosyncratic beliefs and experiences, but it might also be the interpretation of them. The issue is one of intellectual distance; how it is to be resolved, in turn, depends on a biographical understanding of Jung’s state of mind. Here Noll has an additional stunner. One of Jung’s visions during the period of his ‘Confrontation with the unconscious’, a vision reported to the 1925 seminar but left out of the memoirs, involved his transformation into Aion, a lion-headed god from ancient Mithraism. Noll has argued his interpretation of the vision more persuasively in the Jungian journal Spring, but it remains sturdy: Jung was self-consciously living out a fantasy of self-deification along the lines of what he believed to be the secret initiation ritual of an ancient mystery cult. His library was organising, or should we say decorating, his breakdown.

Even so, the question is not settled. A religion needs more than a founder: it needs followers. And now Noll begins to reach. Eager to argue that Jung self-consciously decided to form a ‘secret church’ – the phrase is indeed Jung’s – he wants to make that the basis of a critique of modern institutional Jungianism. In explicitly Weberian terms, Noll contends that the network of institutes, clubs and bookstores that makes Jung’s a still living voice in today’s world can be usefully seen as the bureaucratisation of a charismatic movement. Fair enough, but at the same time Noll insists that the charismatic movement in question can be traced back to a moment of dubious inspiration – the founding of the Psychology Club as a cult in 1916. Though the point is never stated as such, the reader is being invited to think of the Jung Cult as referring to Jungianism both past and present. The expanse is too great. Issues of intent and lineage start to blur; the author’s discernment eventually gives way to tendentiousness. Worse, the more local historical argument pertaining to the foundation of the Club is stretched in so many directions, some of them needless, that it loses much of its elasticity and almost all of its snap.

Still, if the Psychology Club was truly a cult, understood as such by its members, that is news. Noll has limited but striking evidence including one archival jewel. Late in his exposition of Jung’s accelerating post-Freud mania for self-transformation, Noll produces what seems to be Jung’s inaugural address to the newly constituted Club. This document is somewhat strange, not at all easy to read. Yet it does appear to be what Noll says it is: an invitation to a small group of people to band together in an ‘ideal analytical collectivity’. ‘The Mysteries’, a poem written by Goethe exactly a hundred years earlier, is invoked as a model for spiritual brotherhood. Self-deification, and its dangers, are discussed at length, with specific reference to becoming the Christ. Also discussed are struggles with the ‘spirits of the Dead’. There is no mistaking the fact that Jung is talking, albeit at one ‘Jungian’ remove, about his own bout with madness. There is also no mistaking the fact that Club members are expected to follow the path that Jung has followed. The talk ends by suggesting that, in further imitation of Goethe’s example, the Tree of Life might make an appropriate symbol for the Club as ‘the expression of a collective function, created by Analysis and life’.

By any standard, it is an extraordinary archival find. But the provenance of this find is a story in itself. The document, as I shall call it henceforth, was first discovered by the independent Jung scholar Sonu Shamdasani some five years ago in an archive in the Rare Books Department of the Countway Library at Harvard Medical School. I know because I was with Shamdasani the very evening he realised what he had.

The document had been lodged among the Fanny Bowditch Katz papers. She was the niece of the important American neurologist James Jackson Putnam, and when she became desperately depressed following the death of her physician father, he sent her to Jung. The treatment almost fell apart during the first year, and the stormy letters exchanged between her, Jung and Uncle Jim are of historical interest, in part because they were written during the period of the great schism between Zürich and Vienna. Also in that archive are various papers relating to her subsequent analysis with Maria Moltzer, one of Jung’s closest assistants during that time. Moltzer appeared to help Fanny a great deal, though how one can scarcely tell, given all the arcane terminology. On initial inspection, these papers appear to be of less interest, but Shamdasani realised that Moltzer was very close to Jung, and that whatever she was telling Fanny about ‘the union of the opposites’ and suchlike probably originated with Jung himself.

I was staying at the Hotel Commander just off the Cambridge Common and that night I discovered Shamdasani by chance in the lobby bar sitting with Eugene Taylor, another historical researcher with a deep interest in psychology at the turn of the century. The Countway Library has several different collections pertaining to Jung, and it was a time before we got through all the papers in Shamdasani’s satchel. We came to the Katz papers last; by now it was late, and Taylor had left. We turned to the document. It consisted of several pages of typescript in English with handwritten corrections. ‘Frl. Moltzer’ was written at the top of the first page, and we began reading it as though it were an address by her to the Psychology Club; presumably she had made an English translation for Fanny’s edification. Eleven paragraphs in, however, the speaker suddenly referred in the first person singular to a paper that he hoped to have finished soon, ‘The Transcendental Function’. This was not Moltzer. This was Jung. And then we recognised the handwriting of the corrections – Jung’s own.

We read line by line – Shamdasani’s knowledge of Jung is much more detailed than mine, so I followed him – trying to deconstruct Jung’s jargon in terms of what we knew about his personal life at this time. It was very late when we got to the end and to the proposed rules for the Club. We were both spooked. Jung appeared to be clothing himself in the robes of the sacred and asking his followers to join him in his psychosis. Recovering my composure, I congratulated Shamdasani on his discovery. To my surprise he asked me to join him in a publication. He did not want to do this alone, he said, it was too much.

So how does the document end up in another author’s book? Two years ago, I received a call from Noll, who had lately been diving into historical research himself, and we talked shop. At one point, he suddenly shifted gear and said: ‘You know, this whole thing is starting to look to me like some kind of cult.’ I replied: ‘It’s worse than you know – Sonu has found the inaugural address to the cult. But no one knows about it because in the archive it’s in, it’s mislabelled. We’re planning to write a book about it.’ Noll at once identified the document. Shamdasani had advised him to take a look at the Katz papers and Noll had already made his own copy; he led me to understand that he was planning to take a closer look at it in the course of time.

Would Noll have figured out what he had if I had not told him? Who knows. I also understood him to say that he would keep the document’s existence a secret. Subsequently I understood him to say that he would not be using it in his book, when he decided to write one. Lastly, after I had seen the manuscript, I understood that he would remove references to it. But he has used it, and the injured party is not myself but Shamdasani.

Noll’s transgression aside, he has made a contribution. Anyone in search of the historical Jung must now pass, however critically, through The Jung Cult. The world of völkisch mystery cults, aptly termed and aptly described, formed the greater part of Jung’s intellectual environment during the period 1914-39. The literature on inner transcendence produced by and for these groups, moreover, helped to organise Jung during a very desperate time. Later, the literature and practices provided a justification for his behaviour when he decided that the best way to hold onto his personality was to disperse it through his own little group. Noll’s achievement is flawed, but it deserves comparison with Frank Sulloway’s Freud, Biologist of the Mind. Sulloway retrieved an important, but almost entirely neglected dimension of Freud’s thought; Noll has done the same for Jung.

How close, then, are we finally to bringing Jung to the judgment of history? A parallel to Freud suggests that it will take time. One cannot expect the Jung heirs to surrender such primary source material as The Red Book, a privately printed copy of Jung’s very private journal, available only to the elect, any more than one can expect the Sigmund Freud Archives suddenly to announce a fire-sale on hitherto restricted materials. Critical re-examination of the Freud legend has lately reached a stage of maturity principally thanks to the intrepid research of a few independent scholars, beginning with Ellenberger and continuing with Peter Swales, Anthony Stadlen, Albrecht Hirschmüller and others who have added to the available fund of primary source material. Their intellectual adventure, and the consequences it has for Post-Modern thought, deserves separate discussion. In the matter of Jung, however, only Shamdasani appears to be on the case with anything like the same degree of informed, passionate concentration.

The parallel with Freud suggests another caution, too. When it all finally gets sorted out, one will yet have to concede that something was achieved, less than what was claimed perhaps, but progress nonetheless. In the meantime, one wonders how Jung himself is making out in the Land of the Dead about which he spoke so often, and whether his father still worries about him.