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Jung: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

Anthony Stevens
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 Feb 2001 Very Short Introductions (Book 40)
Though he was a prolific writer and an original thinker of vast erudition, Jung lacked a gift for clear exposition and his ideas are less widely appreciated than they deserve.

In this concise introduction, Anthony Stevens explains clearly the basic concepts of Jungian psychology: the collective unconscious, complex, archetype, shadow, persona, anima, animus, and the individuation of the Self. He examines Jung's views on such disparate subjects as myth, religion, alchemy, `sychronicity', and the psychology of gender differences, and he devotes separate chapters to the stages of life, Jung's theory of psychological types, the interpretation of dreams, the practice of Jungian analysis, and to the unjust allegation that Jung was a Nazi sympathizer. Finally, he argues that Jung's visionary powers and profound spirituality have helped many to find an alternative set of values to the arid materialism prevailing in Western society.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (22 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854582
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.5 x 10.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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offers a concise introduction to Jungian psychology, covering everything from the collective unconscious and the archetype to the theories of synchronicity and individuation. (Ken McGoogan, Calgary Herald)

About the Author

Anthony Stevens is a distinguished Jungian analyst, psychiatrist, and writer on Jungian themes. He is a graduate of Oxford University and in addition to his DM has two degrees in psychology. His other books include Archetype: A Natural History of the Self (1982), The Roots of War (1989), On Jung (1990), The Two-Million-Year-Old Self (1993), and Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming (1995).

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
... so says the author, Anthony Stevens, about our man Jung; psychiatrist, psychotherapist, cultural critic and part-time guru.

Now this Very Short Introduction is divided into eight sizeable chapters, which include a beefy biography, a run-down of Jung's most prominent theories, their relation to therapeutic involvement, and then some tailings on how Jung's legacy stands today. The biographical detail in the first chapter is pretty full, which given the complexity of Jung's upbringing and adult life is pretty handy, though presumably the following quote, "In my life No.2 has been of prime importance, and I've always tried to make room for anything that wanted to come from within", has been included for its comedy value alone.

In comparison to the VSI to Freud, Jung has less of a tangible narrative, and although his own work is known for its obscurity, perhaps breaking down the chapters further to make them lighter and easier to reflect upon would have helped. But, chewing through the chapters on Archetypes, the Stages of Life, and Psychological Types does give you a basic sense of the major texts, which Stevens sums up as Jung's "attempt to compensate for his sense of personal oddity and isolation."

I'm a big fan of Jung, certainly of his requirement for Individuation through meditative reflection and self-exploration, and the best thing to be said for this volume is how well it contrasts him as an individual against the prevalent cultural and academic trends of his time; as part Western academic, part Eastern mystic. It's a reasonable summary, but I'd say if you want a real sense of the man and his perspective before delving into the deeper stuff, give `The Undiscovered Self' a read first.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction 19 Jan 2010
By Pablo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This superb little book is the perfect introduction/overview to the life and work of Jung. It is eminently accessible and doesn't presuppose any prior knowledge on the reader's part, yet it avoids both oversimplification and confusion. It begins by tracing the development of Jung's ideas in the context of his life and then moves on to examine the major themes such as archetypes and personality types, and Jung's approach to dreams and to therapy. In each instance, the author skilfully places Jung's work within the thinking of his time, including (but by no means limiting himself to) abundant comparisons and contrasts with the work of Freud, and then goes on to examine the validity and relevance of Jung's work today. Stevens doesn't ignore Jung's interest in for example alchemy or mysticism but rather relates these interests to Jung's overall perspective, thus revealing their ultimately practical applications while giving the reader a vivid picture of Jung's world-view. The author finishes by outlining the arguments of Jung's critics and responding to them. The definitive introduction, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best introduction to Jung's work ever 3 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Anthony Stevens' Very Short Introduction is a must for everybody who is interested in the life and work of Carl G. Jung and psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory in general. With this little book, Stevens deals with the most simple aspects of Jungs insights (such as the collective unconscious, archetypes, complexes...) as well as explaining the more difficult sides, such as alchemy, eastern philosophy, and the much overlooked relationship between Jungs psychology and the ideas of some new disciplines like Evolutionary Psychology and Lorenz' Ethology. A big thumbs up for Stevens: Jung was indeed a brilliant thinker, but far from an excellent writer...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mind according to Jung 20 Aug 2009
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Jung: A very short introduction by Anthony Stevens, Oxford, 1994, 192 ff.

The mind according to Jung
By Howard A. Jones

This is another in the now well established series of introductory monographs produced by Oxford University Press, deservedly respected for their scholarship and readability. The author here is a well-known Jungian psychotherapist. After presenting a brief biography of Jung in Chapter 1, this book focuses on all the most important aspects of Jung's psychology that are accessible to a lay readership.

Jung's family had associations with theology, with medicine or had an interest in the occult, so the formative influences on Jung's future career and outlook are all here. From his own readings Jung was attracted to the ideas of Heraclitus on a world of constant change, which was also compatible with eastern mysticism; so was the philosophy of Schopenhauer on Will as a determining factor in the material world, and the theology of Meister Eckhart with his idea of the Seelenfunklein, the spark of God wihin us as soul. Out of these disparate concepts Jung forged his key ideas of the collective unconscious and the archetypes to which they gave rise.

For six years Jung corresponded with Freud and Stevens points out a difference between the two in that Freud, thinking of himself as a scientist, was always looking backwards for causes while Jung, the mystic, looked forward to the potential that lay in any mental disorder. Jung's idea of individuation, development of the fulfilled Self, has been developed by other psychologists in the twentieth century. Jung's synchronicity concept has influenced the writings of Peter Russell and James Redfield.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good introduction to Jung
Published 2 months ago by J. Burdge
5.0 out of 5 stars good place to start
Exactly what I needed- a quick and easy to read into to Jung. I feel better equipped to tackle the heavier texts now.
Published 2 months ago by frida&edith
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent for our 'Ideas book club' and written in normal ...
Very readable, excellent for our 'Ideas book club' and written in normal langauge.
Published 3 months ago by Valerie Welham
5.0 out of 5 stars Simples
Easy to read and very interesting. Cuts to the chase and explains things clearly. Recommend to anyone interested in what Jung is all about.
Published 6 months ago by Sonja Bond
5.0 out of 5 stars Very short introduction
This was a good book as a introduction to Karl Jung but not great for references because
it is very basic. It is good for a start and easy to read.
Published 7 months ago by AnnK
5.0 out of 5 stars superb outline with hidden merits
I was a little suspicious of this book taking on such a monumental psychology as C G Jung but I was really excited by its all encompassing concise but comprehensive content. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Alexander
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clearly written
I was looking for an easy-to-read, very concise introduction to Jung's philosophy, and here it is. Perfect. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Bev
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
An excellent introduction to Jung telling the reader the background about the person and his beliefs and how it transferred that to his theories and works.
Published 19 months ago by L. garrett
4.0 out of 5 stars Good primer
I was new to Jung and found this book helpful and understandable.
The introductory chapter gives a potted life, including the critical points of Jung's life, with Freud and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Ronni Lamont
5.0 out of 5 stars great overview
A great introduction into Jung's life and work. Very well written and educational. I gladly recommend it to anyone interested.
Published 22 months ago by mathehu
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