Another deep and influential thinker who’s been hovering around the edges of my life for the past few years is C.G. Jung, and so I thought a biography would be a good way to dip my toes into the water.
Once I’d started Jung. His Life and Work. A Biographical Memoir by Barbara Hannah, I could hardly put it down.
Barbara Hannah (1891-1986) was Jung’s pupil and a lecturer and training analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich and she was also a close friend of the Jung family, so the biography felt intensely personal in many ways.
You get a good feel for what kind of person Jung was (remarkable, intelligent, driven, and extremely compassionate), and the themes and ideas he wrote and talked about, even if it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Especially the conscious and unconscious, but also the roles of mythology, religion, dreams, and symbolism, the idea of the anima/animus, to name just a few. His collected works make up some twenty volumes!
I liked the fact that although Jung spent so much time thinking and writing, he was also deeply entrenched in the physical world—his family and friends, patients and pupils, his houses (even building parts of his house in Bollingen)—because that is where we live, after all, that is where we have to put the theories into practice.
If I want to understand anything about psychology and the unconscious mind, then reading Jung seems essential. This biography was definitely a worthwhile read and made me want to find out more. And yes—to explore the shadows as well.