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Summary

A sensational, eye-opening account of Emma Jung's complex marriage to Carl Gustav Jung and the hitherto unknown role she played in the early years of the psychoanalytic movement.

Clever and ambitious, Emma Jung yearned to study the natural sciences at the University of Zurich. But the strict rules of proper Swiss society at the beginning of the 20th century dictated that a woman of Emma's stature - one of the richest heiresses in Switzerland - travel to Paris to "finish" her education, to prepare for marriage to a suitable man.

Engaged to the son of one of her father's wealthy business colleagues, Emma's conventional and predictable life was upended when she met Carl Jung. The son of a penniless pastor, working as an assistant physician in an insane asylum, Jung dazzled Emma with his intelligence, confidence, and good looks. More important, he offered her freedom from the confines of a traditional haute-bourgeois life. But Emma did not know that Jung's charisma masked a dark interior - fostered by a strange, isolated childhood and the sexual abuse he'd suffered as a boy - as well as compulsive philandering that would threaten their marriage.

Using letters, family interviews, and rich, never-before-published archival material, Catrine Clay illuminates the Jungs' unorthodox marriage and explores how it shaped - and was shaped by - the scandalous new movement of psychoanalysis. Most important, Clay reveals how Carl Jung could never have achieved what he did without Emma supporting him through his private torments. The Emma that emerges in the minutes of Labyrinths is a strong, brilliant woman who, with her husband's encouragement, became a successful analyst in her own right.

©2016 Catrine Clay (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

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Not a work of depth psychology

A pleasant story about the woman behind the great man and there social milieu around Carl Jung. The account of the Jung couple's first meeting with the Freud family is hilarious. However, we don't actually learn all that much about the inner life of Emma Jung. Since the book freely celebrates her, it also seems to endorse 1910 gender roles quite uncritically. Ethnic and racial stereotypes also jar, and the author only seems to make apologies for them. The performance is pleasant and appropriate for the story, but would have benefitted from a (Swiss) German language coach.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-02-19

Real insight into Jungs personals life

I think it beautiful to hear that Jung himself was so much a product of his upbringing. Gives the man some realness to his godlike character.

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  • Julie Ruth
  • 09-04-19

Complex on many levels

Fascinating portrait of Emma Jung, and her relationship with her husband Carl Jung, psychoanalysis, and many of the individuals it brought into their lives.

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  • Sparrowhawk
  • 23-12-16

Carl plays center stage

Emma plays more of a supporting role in this book than the subtitle implies. I thought a lot more of her would be displayed, but most of the book is about Carl and his comings and goings. A lot of fairly uninteresting, superfluous information is given in this book, such as answers of patients to Jung's free association tests or some of the letters between various figures. Overall, I was disappointed. The subtitle really is misleading.

7 people found this helpful