Wednesday, February 22, 2012

JUNG, by Deirdre Bair

Jung: A Biography
It's gotta be hard to capture a person's life in a book. Books want a sense of cohesiveness and story, a sort of consistency of theme, and most lives aren't so simply reduced. The temptation must be great to focus on particular incidents, to bend events toward some semblance of plot. Or, resisting that, to cram more and more incidents into a tome, and leave it to the reader to develop a sense of who the subject was, and what their life meant. That seems to be the approach Bair has taken with this autobiography. She omits interpretation or personal commentary, and instead offers what amounts to a sort of chronological summary of materials describing Jung's experiences. It's not exactly riveting material, and she could stand to be more selective in what she chooses to include--the copy I've got is almost 900 pages long. I'm only on page 75, and I've already waded through thousands of words detailing the lives of Jung's forefathers. Now Bair is introducing Jung's wife, by way of detailing the lives of her ancestors. I doubt very much that I'll last much longer with this book.

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