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Carl Jung’s Liber Novus aka the Red Book
Spike, the man I refer to as the other half of my brain, gets a big hat tip–make that a sweeping flourish of my black velvet sombrero, and a deep bow–for sending me a link to this article: The Holy Grail of the Unconscious, in the New York Times Magazine. It’s a long article in latter-day Innertube terms–ten pages, but I found it worth the reading. The subject is the secret ur-text of the sect of Jungian Psychoanalysis.
As he entered middle age Carl Jung began keeping a record of, well, his inner Jungian process. He transcribed his musings in Germanic calligraphy in an oversize journal bound in red leather, and illustrated them with elaborate paintings. Jung’s paintings fairly jump off the page, vivid and strange. The text is equally strange, according to the article.
The Red Book resembles nothing so much as a rare incunabulum from the early days of printing, so neat is the script, except the paintings are as colorful and intricate as the illustrations in a medieval Book of Hours painted in a monastery scriptorium.
Jung filled over 200 large pages with handwritten script and paintings before he locked it in a cupboard. After spending a 100 years or so first in that cupboard and later in a safety deposit box in a bank vault in Zurich, Jung’s descendants have been persuaded to reveal the Red Book to the world, to have the text translated into English, and to publish that translation with a high quality facsimile of the book itself.
I can’t wait to see that.