By C.G Jung
Read by Martyn Swain
16 hours 31 minutes
Published first in 1912, Psychology of the Unconscious was one of the most important stepping stones in the development of Jung’s thought and practice. It has a long subtitle: ‘A Study of the Transformations and Symbolisms of the Libido. A Contribution to the History of the Evolution of Thought’. This expressed the underlying impetus – a break from the view of the libido and its functions as taught by Sigmund Freud, which Jung had earlier adopted. It was from this point that the two approaches, which came to be known as the Swiss and Viennese schools, emerged. As Jung’s translator, Beatrice M Hinkle, writes in her preface: ‘In this work Jung has plunged boldly into the treacherous sea of mythology and folklore, the productions of the ancient mind and that of the common people, and turned upon this vast material the same scientific and painstaking method of psychologic analysis that is applied to the modern mind, in order to reveal the common bond of desire and longing which unites all humanity, and thus bridge the gaps presumed to exist between ancient and widely separated peoples and those of our modern time.’ Jung bases the work on the Miller Fantasies, a collection of writings and poems written by an American woman, Frank Miller, published by another Swiss psychologist. Jung looked at these fantasies, tracing their mythological and cultural influences and inferences, religious, sexual, literary and emotional. The range is enormously wide as he refers to different world traditions including Christian, Mithraic, Judaic and Greek religious traditions; he quotes poetry ranging from Goethe and Hölderlin to Longfellow, and even Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac makes an appearance. Epics abound, from Gilgamesh to the Ramayana, the Rig Veda and the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Sexual attitudes and practices are discussed in terms of the Miller fantasies as well, covering the mores of different societies, including incest, violence and sexual assault. It is a rich and challenging text in which analyses of magic and myth abound. Divided into two parts, it discusses diverse topics in Concerning the Two Kinds of Thinking and The Hymn of Creation in Part I. And in Part II, goes on to explore Aspects of the Libido, The Transformation of the Libido, the Unconscious Origin of the Hero, The Symbolism of the Mother and of Rebirth, and The Sacrifice. It opens with an Introduction in which Jung, referring to Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, discusses the relation of the incest fantasy to the Oedipus legend – and argues that it is necessary to delve further into historical material to understand individual analysis more fully. So, right from the start, Carl Gustav Jung goes down the path that was to make his investigation into the mind and its processes so distinct. This rich and broadly-encompassing text is skilfully presented by Martyn Swain.
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