"Tell Me Things of Fascination and Wonder"sm

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The Portable Jung
Edited by Joseph Campbell
ISBN 0140150706


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From The Publisher:

This comprehensive collection of writings
by the epoch-shaping Swiss psychoanalyst
Dr. Carl Jung

was edited by Joseph Campbell,
himself the most famous of Jung's American followers.

It comprises Jung's pioneering studies
of the structure of the psyche -
including the works that introduced such notions as
the collective unconscious, the Shadow,
Anima and Animus -
as well as inquries into
the psychology of spirituality and creativity, and
Jung's influential "On Synchronicity",
a paper whose implications extend from
the I Ching to Quantum Physics.

Campbell's introduction completes this compact volume,
placing Jung's astonishingly wide-ranging oeuvre
within the context of his life and times.

--- a review by:
L. J. Abshire, Jr. (louj@chevron.com)
January 22, 1999

The introduction to this volume, written by Joseph Campbell, promises that anyone who proceeds through it faithfully from the first page to the last will emerge with a substantial understanding of Analytical Psychology and a new realization of the psychological relevance of mythic lore to his or her psychological development.

Having read its nearly 700 pages from the first to the last, I can attest that it has lived up to its promise. The Campbell introduction provides a good overview of Jung’s life along with a detailed chronology.

The English translation by R. F. C. Hull is very readable; however, Jung’s writings are very scholarly and contain a good deal of Latin and Greek. Most of the Latin and Greek terminology is parenthetically translated, but not all. Not being adept at those languages, I found it helpful to have a Latin-English and a Greek-English dictionary available for reference. Although Jung can be very abstruse at times, for the most part his concepts are clearly expressed and supported with concrete examples.

The book begins with a selection of works designed to help the novice learn Jung’s terminology and basic concepts. After building the appropriate foundation, it then ranges through a cross section of his life’s work including the psychological aspects of marriage, personality types, art, dream symbolism, science, religion, and Eastern and Western culture.

Jung was first and foremost, an empiricist. He offers no metaphysical theories to explain the psyche, but he takes great pains in documenting and correlating its tremendous variety of conscious and unconscious content. He establishes the reality of the psyche as a whole (conscious and unconscious) on its observable effects.

His concepts of the collective unconscious with its archetypal images, the transcendental function, synchronicity, his views on God, and other insights are amazing and engagingly fascinating. He manages to entangle the reader in a bewildering world of arcane images from mythology and alchemy in his dream interpretation sequences. In spite of the natural skepticism one may feel toward the relevance of these unconscious archetypes, it is difficult to avoid the discomfiting feeling that there is, after all, a great deal of relevance there.

For anyone wishing to broaden his or her consciousness and understanding of the human psyche, the time and effort needed to purchase the results promised in the introduction is well spent.

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