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Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book Hardcover – 27 Sep 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (27 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393088944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393088946
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.3 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This series of transcribed conversations between two eminent scholars provides nuanced and provocative context for Carl Jung s Red Book and its influence on contemporary thinking . A brilliant collection, evocative of all that is wonderful and strange about Jung s Red Book and about the human psyche itself. "

About the Author

James Hillman (1926 - 2011) was the author of many influential books. Sonu Shamdasani is the author of C.G. Jung: A Biography in Books (ISBN 978 0 393 07367 6). Also available: The Red Book (ISBN 978 0 393 06567 1) and The Red Book Reader's Edition (ISBN 978 0 393 08908 0).

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter FYFE on 24 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover
Join two remarkable men in the psychological thriller of the century as they explore the mystery of Jung's Red Book and its meaning for psychology (whatever the hell that is!).

Shamdasani is the editor and leading historian of the Red Book and Hillman, it emerges, is the unwitting exponent of its legacy (so much so Shandasani had presumed Hillman must have read one of the mysterious copies that circulated over the years - Hillman hadn't). It's hard to imagine two men more up for to the mammoth task of exploring this mammoth tome, or at least willing to give it a red hot go (as we say Down Under).

And give it a red hot go they do, in an utterly compelling sequence of 15 conversations. They speak of Jung opening the mouths of the dead with the Red Book, and in doing so being completely psychological without psychological concepts. We learn how the concepts and conceptualisation of Jung's psychology came after the experiences of writing Red Book, and how those concepts can be viewed as providing a context for this profound work Jung was never really sure if he could or should show us (despite its being the most carefully worked of all of his writings). As they chat on, we discover how Jung was not satisfied merely to descend into the underworld, but was driven by a need to return and bring something back, and then to find a way to share it ( through his conceptualised psychology that the authors seem to agree has little of the life or Imaginal possibilities of the Red Book in which it was birthed). All this... and much, much more! Along the way we catch some revealing personal glimpses of the two great men themselves, and their own wrestling with psychology sic], Jung, and the Red Book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Oct 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The publication of Jung's The Red Book: Liber Novus has generated a great deal of interest as it offers some first hand material transcribed from of what was happening in the period described in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Flamingo) as his "Confrontation with the Unconscious." The point of interest in this book is that it offers commentary on the significance of "The Red Book" by one of its editors and translators, Sonu Shamdasani, and one of Jung's last surviving collaborators, and possibly most creative successor, James Hillman.

One of the things that surprises Shadasani early in this book of dialogues is that the publication of the Red Book was Hillman's first direct experience of it. This may be perhaps less of a surprise to readers of one of Hillman's previous books of dialogues, Inter Views: Conversations with Laura Pozzo on Psychotherapy, Biography, Love, Soul, Dreams, Work, Imagination and the State of the Culture, in which he states, though personally acquainted with Jung, he would not describe himself as one of the inner circle. Readers of Hillman will also be perhaps less surprised by some of his ideas about Jung's work which is less reverent and less inclined to use some of the more abstract technical terms employed by Jungians. Yet for all that, he states how he feels his own work stressing the imagination is largely confirmed by the Red Book and it's contents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C2D2 on 15 Oct 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a very poor review of this book the other day suggesting that it was too self referential. Regretably, for a complete outsider to the themes addressed within it, this is probably true. That said it is an excellent companion volume to the RED BOOK itself.
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13 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Theodor Itten on 26 Nov 2013
Format: Hardcover
While attending a presentation of Dick Russell's first Volume of his biography of a lyrical writer and interpreter of the soul, the late James Hillman (1926-2011), in New York's Jung Foundation, I strolled through their well-stocked bookstore. I picked up Hillman's final book, a conversation with Sonu Shamdasani. I was already taken slightly aback by the mixed feelings I had concerning the book's title as well as the identity of Hillman's conversation prompter. Leafing through the book and glancing at their exchanges about which C.G. Jung worked out in his Red Book, I realised immediately, this was not a heart-to-heart conversation but rather an exchange between two individuals trying to best each other at intellectual word games. No need for this I thought and put the book down, thus saving me from spending nearly $ 28.-
Glad to heed my inner voice, I went to Russell's entertaining talk. Yet, when we broke for tea and delicious cakes, I thought I should give the book a second chance. I met Hillman once and served as his translator in 1995 for a daylong seminar in Bern, Switzerland, on his then just published book, Kinds of Power. I had been an avid reader of his work since Francis Huxley introduced me to it in 1976, so I bought this book simply to complete my Hillman collection. I gave myself a simple "why not," but was I thinking of something else when I made this decision? Yes, because this book is a very good example of the psycho pompous at work with its shadowy grand pretence, factitiousness and hypocritical shoddiness.
C. G. Jung ends, in 1930, his Liber Secundus, in the Red Book, with the following words: Der Prüfstein ist das Alleinsein mit sich selber. Dies ist der Weg. The touchstone is the being alone with one self. This is the way.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Big Conversations 11 Aug 2013
By Bill Bridges - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of my favorite James Hillman books are the ones that transcribe his conversations, capturing his thoughts on the fly. Lament of the Dead is a series of conversations between Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani, the editor of Jung's Red Book - a Herculean undertaking that he achieved with incredible patience and skill. Listening in on (reading) their talks is thrillingly enlightening. While there is a lot of repetition here, with the two of them going over the same ideas and material again and again in different conversations, as well as repeated statements of Hillman's stance and work on psychology (which may already be familiar to some readers), the book is nonetheless rewarding for the often brilliant insights into not only Jung and his Red Book, but into our culture.

The chief concern of the Red Book, according to Hillman and Shamdasani, is giving voice to the dead - to history, to the actual dead, to buried ideas. Our culture is so forward looking, valuing novelty over reflection on the past, that the ancestors are too often forgotten. If we don't deal with them, their lament will continue to haunt us and foil our intents. True novelty requires the seed-bed of the past's rich loam.

This is an excellent companion to the Red Book. While the conversationalists don't try to elucidate the meaning of individual passages of that difficult work, their talks do help the reader to understand and amplify its meaning and possible impact for our culture today, in the aftermath of the Red Book's posthumous printing. As they remark, Jung's opus was not for personal effect, but to bring something from the depths back to the world. The proper concern of psychology shouldn't be the exclusive working out of purely personal disorders but should instead aim for a therapy of the world.
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Practically a Miracle 23 Aug 2013
By David Sheppard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The fact that this book even exists is practically a miracle. Jung's The Red Book was only published in 2009 after over seventy years gathering dust, and James Hillman passed away in 2011. That he had an opportunity to read it, reflect on it, have conversations with the one person most knowledgeable of The Red Book and the two put it in perspective for the professional and lay Jungian community... It's just difficult to fathom how we could be so fortunate.

First, note that the dustcover is the same color as the inside pages of The Red Book. The book without the dustcover is red, the same red as both the dustcover and cloth cover of The Red Book. Undoubtedly those colors were chosen to be symbolic of its connection with the The Red Book and shows the attention this little volume has received by its publisher.

Next, the title, Lament of the Dead, speaks so loudly and on many levels, only one of which is that James Hillman is no longer with us. When I opened this book and read the first few lines, it took my breath away:
______

James Hillman: I was reading about this practice that the ancient Egyptians had of opening the mouth of the dead. It was a ritual and I think we don't do that with our hands. But opening the Red Book seems to be opening the mouth of the dead.

Sonu Shamdasani: It takes blood. That's what it takes. The work is Jung's `Book of the Dead.' His descent into the underworld, in which there's an attempt to find the way of relating to the dead. He comes to the realization that unless we come to terms with the dead we simply cannot live, and that our life is dependent on finding answers to their unanswered questions.
______

So it is with opening this book, for James Hillman speaks to us practically from the grave. Those words rippled through my perception of my own writing as I read them, not only because Hillman is no longer with us and we are still trying to come to terms with him and the loss of him, but also because I'm getting along in years myself, and my own works have come to reflect more emphasis on the questions of mortality and immortality. That, and I've been engaged in an ongoing project using Jung's active imagination for the last three years, which is of course a process of descending into the underworld, and that work is definitely a book of the dead also, or the undead. I believe that each of us will find something for ourselves reflected in their words.

Also, I first ran onto Hillman's work at the suggestion of the late poet Renate Wood some twenty-five years ago. I was struggling with Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus (another story of descent into the underworld), and she recommended that I take a look at a little volume titled Oedipus Variations written by both Hillman and Kerenyi. I was blown away by the depth of Hillman's understanding of Sophocles. Dr. Wood was my mentor, and the gifts she gave me so unassumingly continue to speak to me today. One of them led me to this book. I can still hear her speaking from the grave, and the way she comes to me is as a background voice, someone looking over my shoulder and whispering between-the-lines secrets as I read the words of Hillman and Shamdasani. I have no way of knowing for sure that this book will speak to you as it does to me, but I'm guessing that if you are here reading this review that it will.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
We Are Lived by Our Ancestors 24 Aug 2013
By Donald L. Conover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Lament of the Dead: Psychology after Jung's Red Book--Reviewed

During 2010, world renowned psychologist James Hillman* and Sonu Shamdasani**, Editor of The Red Book: Liber Novus by Dr. C.G. Jung, sat together for fifteen conversations about the implications to modern psychology of this long missing foundation of Dr. Jung's oeuvre. These conversations are the substance of Lament of the Dead: Psychology after Jung's Red Book. Their insights add important depth and breadth to what was already a profoundly important work for the future of our species.

"He who does not heed history is doomed to repeat it." Cicero

While the old adage is well known, we pay little attention to it. As we watch Fascism revive itself in a new form around the globe, very few have noticed or stood up to the onslaught of the loss of our liberties, although the occupy movement and the demonstrations in Turkey and Egypt are manifestations of people doing just that. This situation gives new urgency to Dr. Jung's dictum in The Red Book that the weight of history is upon us, and we must listen to "what the dead want to say."

Although medical psychology is largely focused on "normalizing" a patient with quick fix drugs these days, the loss of the Soul in our psyche means that we are forever cut off from what the dead want to tell us. Dr. Hillman points out that "psychology after The Red Book has to be based on the fantasy image," and cannot simply rely on the "denotative." By this he does not mean a make believe fantasy, but a real image that emerges from the unconscious as a dream or vision, and influences our day-to-day lives.

Given that this observation is coming from one of the most famous psychologists of the 20th Century, and an early disciple of Dr. Jung, it seems amazing that the comment can seem like he is exposing a revelation--something new he himself had to learn.

He has clearly shown that diagnoses based on mere categorization, even categorizations identified by Dr. Jung himself, like anima and Shadow, are pale and inadequate as compared to the depth of information that dream images and visions present from the level of the unconscious.

Dr. Jung's famous vision of the onset of World War I is a case in point.

"It happened in October of the year 1913 as I was leaving alone for a journey, that during the day I was suddenly overcome in broad daylight by a vision: I saw a terrible flood that covered all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. It reached from England up to Russia, and from the coast of the North Sea right up to the Alps. I saw yellow waves, swimming rubble, and the death of countless thousands." The Red Book, P. 231; Reader's Edition, P. 123.

Something in his psyche was telling him the war was coming. At the time, it nearly bowled him over, but now, in the fullness of a century of consideration, we can see the importance of the vision. And, as he often later said, it was "quite real."

One of the most interesting aspects of this book was seeing James Hillman, one of the leading psychologists of the 20th Century and near the end of his life, being once again swept up in the depth and brilliance of Jung's work, after having been an elaborator on it and its significance for decades. I should say that he seemed somewhat chastened that he and his professional colleagues had not fully grasped the significance of some of Dr. Jung's subsequent teachings.

It was less surprising to hear from Sonu Shamdasani that the only real critics of the publication of The Red Book are current "Jungian" analysts. After all, if one has based a professional practice on a somewhat formulaic understanding of Dr. Jung's various innovative ideas, it might be difficult to reset the guardrails of the psyche in a more organic way.

For me, as a layman, what was there to criticize? The Red Book is what it said it is, a completely personal memoir of extraordinary events. But, now with the benefit of the commentary contained in Lament of the Dead, I can more readily see the here and now societal implications of what Dr. Jung was saying in the first place a century ago. While I did note that there were a lot of references to blood in reading The Red Book, I did not realize until I was preparing to write this review, that blood is central to much of Dr. Jung's thinking, giving new meaning to the phrase "There will be blood."

*James Hillman was the first Director of the Jung Institute in Zurich and founder of the elaboration on the work of Dr. C.G. Jung and others, which became known as Archetypal Psychology.

**Sonu Shamdasani is the Editor and one of the Translators of The Red Book: Liber Novus by Dr. C.G. Jung. He is the Philemon Professor of Jung History at the Center for the History of Psychological Disciplines at University College London.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
It stopped where it should have started 30 Sep 2013
By Michael Van Horn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a long discussion between two well-known Jungians--one was the producer of the Red Book. It was interesting, but it never really got to the topic promised on the cover: "Psychology after Jung's Red Book." The blurb says they will "reassess psychology, history, and creativity through the lens of Carl Jung’s Red Book." That's why I bought it. This book is a conversation that leads up to that enticing topic, but never quite gets there.
So, a book that looks at psychology, history, and creativity through Jung's Red Book remains to be written.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent! 22 Sep 2013
By celticdoc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
During 2010, world renowned psychologist James Hillman* and Sonu Shamdasani**, Editor of [I]The Red Book: Liber Novus [/I]by Dr. C.G. Jung, sat together for fifteen conversations about the implications to modern psychology of this long missing foundation of Dr. Jung’s [I]oeuvre.[/I]  These conversations are the substance of [I]Lament of the Dead: Psychology after Jung’s Red Book.[/I] Their insights add important depth and breadth to what was already a profoundly important work for the future of our species.  
One of the most interesting aspects of this book was seeing James Hillman, one of the leading psychologists of the 20th Century and near the end of his life, being once again swept up in the depth and brilliance of Jung’s work, after having been an elaborator on it and its significance for decades.  I should say that he seemed somewhat chastened that he and his professional colleagues had not fully grasped the significance of some of Dr. Jung’s subsequent teachings.
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