Intro to Jung
January 24, 2008 12:04 PM   Subscribe

What text(s) should I read for a substantial (but not daunting) introduction to Jung?

I'm not a completist, so I've no interest in reading all his stuff, or anywhere near to it, but I would like to get acquainted with his main ideas (especially relating to the unconscious, and synchronicity). Ideally it would be in his own flavour as much as possible, but I'm not opposed to secondary texts (barring those "For Beginners" comic books and their ilk, please.)

I don't know if I'm looking for a shortlist of his works, one of his works in particular, or a specific anthology.

Some critical analysis would probably also be of great benefit.

posted by regicide is good for you to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You should read "Two Essays on Analytical Psychology"

It's the best introduction to his work, in my opinion.
posted by milarepa at 12:09 PM on January 24, 2008

Pick up Memories, Dreams, Reflections before you do anything else. Jung's autobiography is good for spelunking into the mind of the man, his theories, outlook on psychoanalysis, and forays into the far-out (UFOs; poltergeists). It's moving, too. Use it as the foundation for your studies.
posted by Gordion Knott at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2008

i agree, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
posted by aquanaut at 1:53 PM on January 24, 2008

If you're interested in considering books that use Analytical Pscyhology as a framework, you can't go wrong with Marie-Louise Von Franz who was a Jungian analyst. I'd especially recommend her books The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, in which she uses Jungian concepts to illuminate the subtext of children's tales and The Problem of the Puer Aeternus, in which she discusses The Little Prince and its author from a Jungian perspective.

James Hillman is also a wonderful Jungian writer, and the Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies uses Jungian thought in a substantial work of fiction (the second book, The Manticore takes place with a person in a Jungian analysis).
posted by jasper411 at 2:13 PM on January 24, 2008

+1 for Von Franz. She's the clearest interpreter of Jung's work, particularly
'Lecture on Jung's Typology,' with a lecture by James Hillman. Both lectures discuss Jung's theory of personality types, which strongly influenced the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator and the Kiersey Temperament Sorter.
posted by doncoyote at 3:15 PM on January 24, 2008

Definitely Memories Dreams Reflections. Also depending on your location there are many Jung Society franchises which offer free or extremely cheap introductory lectures, seminars. The Penguin Portable Jung has an exellent set of excerpts and user friendly introduction essay written by Joseph Campbell.
posted by bukvich at 5:12 PM on January 24, 2008

Mr. Paleography has been on a Jung kick for about a year now. He says yes on the Penguin Portable, and adds that there's a good Viking Jung Reader. He also recommends Ego and Archetype, by Edward F. Edinger. And I remember Man and His Symbols being a good introduction to dreams and archetypes (but I read it in high school, which was a long time ago).
posted by paleography at 7:56 PM on January 24, 2008

Ego and Archetype is fantastic. By the time you're done you'll have the whole of his cosmology in your pocket. And Jung's autobiography, as mentioned already, is entertaining, informative and simply written. Both highly recommended.
posted by zenpop at 8:10 PM on January 24, 2008

Check out this comment by jamjam on a related question:
I think the most perspicuous view of Jung by far (and Freud, too!) is to be found in the Freud-Jung Letters, which has the added benefit of being a great literary and historical work in its own right. I found it quite painful to see how deeply Freud loved Jung, and what hope he had that the younger man would carry on the great work, and how Freud blinded himself to the coldness and disaffection that crept into the letters as Jung gradually gathered himself to make a decisive break with psychoanalysis and Freud personally, but it makes for a truly thrilling, tragic drama, and along the way each man makes the most concise, accessible and persuasive statement of his ideas I have seen anywhere.
posted by salvia at 1:37 AM on January 26, 2008

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