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121 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to the centre of [a] man
If you are of sound mind, stout heart, and good character, join CG Jung on the most intrepid and exhilarating journey imaginable: the journey to the centre of [a] man (that is if you can pry this book from the cloying grip of the academics and fundamentalists long enough to enjoy it for what it is and have the grace to let it be just that).

Be warned: it's...
Published on 26 Nov 2009 by Peter FYFE

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30 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Primary matters from the jungle of the unconscious
Primary matters from the jungle of the unconscious

It all began on 12 December 1913, in C.G. Jung's Study in his imposing house on Seestrasse in Küsnacht, Switzerland. His psychological-scientific experiment of his confronting the unconscious took Jung into its spell. Retrospectively, in his biographical notes Memories, Dreams and Reflections (1961) he...
Published on 14 Dec 2009 by Theodor Itten


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121 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to the centre of [a] man, 26 Nov 2009
By 
Peter FYFE (Erskineville, Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
If you are of sound mind, stout heart, and good character, join CG Jung on the most intrepid and exhilarating journey imaginable: the journey to the centre of [a] man (that is if you can pry this book from the cloying grip of the academics and fundamentalists long enough to enjoy it for what it is and have the grace to let it be just that).

Be warned: it's tough going. You'll be exposed to primordial figures that may remind you of some of your own. You'll be thrown into a bewildering desert of early-twentieth century Swiss-protestant metaphysics (heavily spiced by Goethe, Nietzsche, and assorted mythologies). You'll see some of the complexes and neuroses of a great man exposed in all their horror and occasional hilarity. You'll marvel as big ideas find their first voice in a seemingly unwilling recipient. You may even share a little of the horror and pain as Jung fails to see the joke his own psyche is playing on him, or perhaps even occasionally misses the point? Best, you'll see many symbols and wonders of the soul that, whilst being all too familiar, remain elusive, beckoning, and truly awesome to behold. Yep, it's your basic esoteric hero's journey, writ large, for all to misinterpret.

The Red Book is a beautiful, rare, and unique artefact of someone else's process. It's almost like a travel book, documenting CG's personal and idiosyncratic journey across the great undiscovered country within. Like its author, it's a book that will draw out and amplify each reader's deep psychological prejudices (you may have already glimpsed some of mine). And it reveals that author and his psychology in a way his [or anyone else's] more conventional works never have.

If you love exploring the human soul, I'd be surprised if you didn't find this the most fascinating, exasperating and incredible book you've ever read, as I have. Enjoy, but be warned: you may loose some sleep over it!

PS: As befits the subject, the standard of scholarship and presentation of this book is exhaustive, exhausting, and without parallel.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very intimate insight into Jung and his psychology, 8 April 2010
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This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
In future years Jung's character will be micro-analysed on the basis of what he has set down in these words; his enemies will point to the text to show how clearly pathological he was, and his admirers will quote from this book to show exactly how enlightened and ahead of his time he was.

I have found Jung's 'The Red Book' fantastical, grandiose, poetic, spiritual, and inspirational. Whatever perspective/s you take on the text, one thing is for certain 'The Red Book' provides the reader with the most intimate insight into Jung's internal world and his creative engagement with that world yet published. Moreover it is the 'prima materia' for his approach to psyche and laid the foundations for his entire pschological theory.

For these reasons the 'The Red Book' is a fantastic work and an essential read for anyone with any interest in Jung and/or his psychological perspectives.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars deeply fascinating and inspiring, 10 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
How can i possibly review this book, was my first thought, and it still is. I decided to do so anyway, because i think it might bring something to the table.
The book is huge, the imagery alone would take a tremendous amount of time to study. These things contribute to a certain "wow" effect that needs to settle before one begins reading the actual text, or, well at least in my case, even think of doing a review of the book.

So here we are: The book itself. The first's part of the book contains a preface by Ulrich Hoerni Followed by Jung's artwork and calligraphy presented as an original re production of Liber Novus. At the back of the book is the translation, which I think is very well done, I should say I do read German, but I'm in no way a professional translator. The book is devided into liber primus and liber secundus and scrutines which contain an entry of black book 5 (bare with me but I'm gonna quote Sonu Shamdasani from a Harpers magazine article instead of explaining the black books myself:
"To begin with, one must clearly differentiate Jung's Black Books, in which he initially wrote his fantasies together with reflections on his mental states, from Liber Novus. The former were records of a self-experiment, while the latter drew in part on these materials to compose a literary and pictorial work."

So is there a "before and after the red book" which has been state before. I cant say, I don't think anyone can for sure. After reading the book I had a lot of AHA! moments contributing to a better understanding of some of Jung's other works. The book has given me a much much clearer image of Jung as a person, but that image is inheritably flawed, simply because I did not know Jung. So weather or not the book, takes away from Jung's image, or adds to it, is in the end, not really that interesting.
The book is more straightforward in its text then many of Jung's academic works and as such is easier to read. The concept though, is far from straightforward and might take a lot longer to absorb then the usual academic material from Jung.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to Embark on a Journey, 3 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
If you're looking at this item and questioning the warnings given by other reviewers, do not dismiss them as folly. This is a seriously intense, esoteric and transformational journey. More than anything it presents a risk - any cognitive scheme leaves the mind open to construct potentially dangerous paradigms, and none more so than Carl Gustav Jung's delicate probing of just what it is that makes him who he is as an individual. This is not a scientific book - whilst it may draw roots from clinical psychology, Jung actively avoided jargon and objective theory in what was always designed to be an intuitive, primal and highly idiosyncratic journey into his own consciousness and psyche. Do not buy this book unless you're willing and ready to engage on a challenging journey with Jung as he struggles with madness, doubt, fear, mythology, philosophy, insecurity and various psychonautic voyages into his own being, set to the tone of a palpably Nietzschean construct with some Freudian overtones. Not everyone will be able to appreciate this book - fewer still will be able to enjoy it; but it does present a fascinating opportunity to glimpse at one man's stumbling journey into who and why he is. Jung makes frequent usage of biblical imagery as well as various references to literature, all of which are highlighted by footnotes. The real challenge of the book is less in the writing, which whilst occasionally challenging should be accessible to anyone who's read Nietzsche, Camus or Wittgenstein (which I pick merely as examples of writers whose work I've found more difficult to understand.) In reality, the real difficulty I can see a reader having to overcome is accepting the ideas Jung presents: not only are they highly personal and therefore difficult, if not impossible to objectify (which in some respects is a deliberate design) but they explore a highly mysterious and misunderstood area of study in a hugely enigmatic manner - almost parabolic in many respects. Despite this, anyone willing to devote time and energy into exploring Jung's Liber Novus will most certainly benefit from it hugely, and whilst it is not a book I recommend to the uninitiated, it is most certainly the best book I own as a pre-university student of psychology, philosophy and literature.

In practical terms, the book is deceptively large. It measures at 30cm across, 40cm down and 5cm in thickness. It has approximately 373 pages printed in full colour on the finest printing paper I've ever come across. The first half of the book contains the original German Jung wrote in (detailed photo-copies, not transcribed) and all the included illuminations and art Jung himself drew and painted. The second half of the book contains the English translation written in computerized font and so sadly missing the illuminations and artistry of the first half. Included is a dust jacket. Many people say that the cost of the book is inflated, but in truth the presentation is just as much a part of Jung's work as the semantics encapsulated within, and it would therefore be of detriment in my humble opinion to lower the quality of the book, which is fantastic. Equally, holding out for a paperback edition is unlikely to provide the same experience, as any paperback edition will likely be merely the translated text which misses the importance and symbolism of the art.

More than anything, this is an educational book. It doesn't seek to provide laws or theories because Jung recognised that to understand the natural, intimate workings of the human soul/psyche his findings must be presented in a natural, intimate manner. It merely presents a journey and a set of personal conclusions that the reader is invited to share in, endorsing or dissenting as he/she sees fit. Truly brilliant.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnum Opus, 19 Mar 2010
By 
Dr. John Medhurst (Romney Marsh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
Anyone who buys this book will presumably know what it contains so this review is confined to presentation.

Binding excellent, good quality cloth with gold lettering on spine ony. Glossy dust-jacket (the only criticism is that at this price, one might have expected a slip-case but that's a bit picky). The original facsmile pages are good, legible and probably reasonably faithful to the original colours. The translation pages follow as a separate set and are well presented.

All in all, very good value as a "budget price" version of this extraordinary magnum opus.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feast for the soul and the senses, 22 Mar 2010
By 
E. Rowan (South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
I have known about this book for a very long time, as I am interested in the phychology of CG Jung. I think it is apart from the very important contents, the most beautiful book I have ever seen or bought. We all have our own story to tell and we should tell it as best we can, even though and especially because we do not think it will ever be published. That gives it authenticity and it comes from the heart. We should also honour our personal journey and use only the best material available and Jung has shown us the way.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientist, visionary or mage?, 3 Oct 2010
By 
I. A. Clark "holey stone" (Whitby, N. Yorks, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
Carl Jung was a psychiatrist, a former disciple of Sigmund Freud and the designated heir-apparent to the Freudian school... until he publicly and painfully broke with his master on a crucial point of doctrine. You don't need to be a psychiatrist to appreciate the issue. So what follows is couched in layman's terms.

Freud taught that the mind of a newborn baby was a blank canvas ("tabula rasa"): so distressing mental imagery could come from nowhere but bad childhood experiences. Jung saw that, far from being a blank canvas, we are all born with a rich tapestry of built-in mental structure which evolution has painted and repainted in ever-greater detail over the last million years or more. In an animal such mental pre-programming is called "instinct" -- but nobody wanted to admit that humans too had instincts -- or that they were significant in an individual's life. To the human owner of the tapestry Jung saw it would look like a witch-pot of memories: the "collective unconscious" or "race memory". From it, dreams and visions would bubble up of primitive horror and awe, giving shape and colour to mystical experience, cosmic insight, creativity, genius -- and madness.

Jung set out to describe this tapestry on a sounder scientific basis than had Freud: one of the first to describe the mind in modern terms. This is to ignore the alchemists: the first to analyse Man, body and soul, from the properties of matter. A rigorous study of Chemistry in the previous two centuries had put (bodily) medicine on a sounder basis than its former appeal to the Seven Planets, and Jung was aiming at the same sort of advance for mental medicine.

Like a good scientist, Jung did experiments on himself. Dangerous ones. From 1913 onward (a period of history in spiritual turmoil) he undertook a survey of his own built-in tapestry. If he was right, it was everybody's tapestry. A huge upwelling of insight, experience, imagery and sheer mental aggravation erupted, from which he barely emerged with his sanity. This book is an objective record of this literally "mind-blowing" project.

Jung was tapping and mapping the source of the creative power of shamans, visionaries and artists, mystics and alchemists... why not scientists too? The source material, recorded in primary form resembling ikons, altarpieces, thangkas and mandalas, was confined to the scrutiny of his closest circle, and the rest of his life was spent (so he claimed) in reporting its contents in the austere idiom of early 20th-century science. What a religious visionary would call gods, angels and daemons were presented as "archetypes" to the scientific world, and their properties catalogued objectively.

Objectively, but not dispassionately. That would have been dishonest, because he was passionately involved. To write about them in cold scientific language did not demean his marvellous inner experiences in his own eyes. Far from it! They were his lifelong beacon: his Newton's Apple.

Jung disingenuously states that his experiences were so precious to him that he wanted to record them in a "precious" way -- which might explain why it so resembles a mediaeval bible. The editor of the present edition, Sonu Shamdasani, likens it to The Book Of Kells -- the archetype of a precious (Western) book.

Shamdasani has not only lovingly reproduced Jung's illuminated manuscripts but appended a full English translation plus translator's notes and detailed references in footnotes, preceded by a substantial introduction. These can all be read by a non-specialist without undue pain. Beautifully printed in full colour on art-grade paper and lavishly bound, it makes a magnificent gift for a loved-one of an independently spiritual cast of mind -- or maybe a training in the social sciences.

Just one complaint, which reflects more on me than the book: it is heavy on the lap and unwieldy for the stated purpose: serious research. It's better suited to being admired and cherished. I hope a handy paperback companion of the translation and notes appears: I'd buy a copy for my anticipated in-depth study of the Red Book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May the one, 7 May 2011
This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
May the one who illuminated this...illuminate me. "Reading" Liber Novus is still a life changing experience. Ever since my average interest in dreams and the subconscious went to obsession after experiencing my own TRUE awakening, it is making me embrace the mystery, and helping me orientate myself in the waking life. It has become very personal. Jung is truly life altering. And life is a gift.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, 19 July 2010
By 
Carlos F. Pardo V (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
I ordered it and was sure it would be a nice book to have. But when this massive volume arrived I was absolutely impressed. I must say that it is the most beautiful book I have ever seen or had. I never thought Jung could be so ellaborate in calligraphy and drawing, additional to his intellectual depth.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing book, 28 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) (Hardcover)
A rich expensively produced book which is taking a while to get into and absorb.
It should fill a gap in one's understanding of Jung's thinking and ideas.
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The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon)
The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon) by CG Jung (Hardcover - 9 Oct 2009)
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