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Introspective Companion to Jung
on 24 April 2013
Although presented as an autobiography, 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' was the project of German Jungian Analyst Aniela Jaffe, written with the permission and assistance of C G Jung in his very late years. It is not, at his request, considered part of his 'Collected Works'.
Jung's personal relationships are outside the scope of this book - rather he agreed only to share aspects of his life relevant to his ideas. To ensure this, Jung himself wrote the chapters concerning his childhood and school days, and also a chapter 'Late Thoughts' which is a commentry on how the carefully selected exposures are linked to his life's work.
Chapters primarily written by Jaffe cover Jung's divergence from Freudian Psychology, his confrontation with his own unconscious (which really helps unlock the meaning behind his famous 'Red Book'), influences from other cultures and summaries of his major works. All are illustrated using real case examples and vivid dream recollections and make for an enjoyable read.
Perhaps the most frank and revealing part of the book is the brief final chapter in which a somewhat solemn tone is taken in describing a path that was in many ways lonely to experience.
Whilst it is by no means a substitution for Jung's papers themselves, this book is a very compelling insight into the life and experiences that led to the development of his theories. It adds a new level of understanding to a serious student, and provides an easy to read account of a highly influential psychologist to many others.