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Dreamy Sales of Jung Book Stir Analysis
This month the book reached as high as No. 18 on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction extended best-seller list. Of course the sales of “The Red Book” — 13,000, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of retail sales — are tiny compared to the millions of copies of Mr. Brown’s “Lost Symbol” or Ms. Palin’s “Going Rogue” that have sold. But “The Red Book,” originally handwritten in ornate calligraphy and illustrated with intricate tempera paintings, all reproduced in Norton’s 15.4-inch by 11.6-inch volume, has proven to booksellers that books — printed on paper and embracing deep thinking — can sell, and sell well, even at a premium price.
The New York Times first major coverage of the publication of C.G. Jung's Red Book appeared in the Magazine Section on Septermber 16, 2009 : "The Holy Grail of the Unconscious" By SARA CORBETT.
This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.
A second article, Carl Gustav Jung, also by Sara Corbett appeared in Times Topics > People on Sept. 23, 2009; it reports on the course of C.G. Jung's professional life.
Carl Jung founded the field of analytical psychology and, along with Sigmund Freud, was responsible for popularizing the idea that a person's interior life merited not just attention but dedicated exploration - a notion that has since propelled tens of millions of people into psychotherapy.
In the December 3, 2009, New York Times Sunday Book Review, the following article by Kathryn Harrison appeared : “The Red Book: Liber Novus”.
Jung began what would become “The Red Book” shortly after he had fallen out with Freud, each unable to accept the other’s understanding of the unconscious. Though Jung agreed with Freud’s basic theory that the unconscious mind existed beyond the reach of consciousness and yet influenced human behavior, he believed Freud’s conception of it as a dark vault of repressed urges and denied emotions was incomplete and unnecessarily negative — too focused on neurosis. The 1912 publication of Jung’s “Psychology of the Unconscious,” which had grown out of his psychoanalysis of the heroes and heroines of “mythology, folklore and religion” made the two doctors’ differences of opinion public, and the Zurich Psychoanalytical Society, with which Jung was actively involved, broke away from Freud’s International Psychoanalytic Association.
The NYTimes on December 11, 2009, next posted a slide show online that highlights the exhibit at the Rubin Museum : Slide Show.
Along with the slide show you'll find an article in the Art & Design Section on December 11, 2009 : A Look Inside the Red Book : Exhibition Review : 'The Red Book of C. G. Jung: Creation of a New Cosmology' -- Jung’s Inner Universe, Writ Large
And as he points out, Jung undertook his strange project after a series of apocalyptic visions in 1913 and 1914 that he later believed were prophesies of an imminent world war. He looked out a window, he said, and “saw blood, rivers of blood.” Jung felt it within himself as well, the “menace of psychosis.”
The New York Times' coverage of the publication of C.G. Jung's Red Book has been extensive but also ambivalent. If you are interested in other NYTimes articles on Jung and his work, the following link will connect you with reporting that goes back to an article by Daniel Goleman in 1985 : Articles about Carl Gustav Jung.