Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Labyrinths: Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl, and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis


Today's nonfiction post is on Labyrinths: Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl, and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis by Catrine Clay. It is 394 pages long including notes. The cover is a picture of Emma with Carl only half in it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in Emma Jung and her life. There is no foul language, talk of sex, and no violence in this book.

From the back of the book- 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 twentieth 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 a 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 pages of Labyrinths is a strong, brilliant woman, who, with her husband’s encouragement, becomes a successful analyst in her own right.

Review- When I started reading this book the only thing I knew about Emma Jung was that she was married to Carl but I do not have a good understanding of this complex woman and the driving forces in her life. We follow Emma over the course of her whole life but we spend the most time with her in the years of her marriage to Carl Jung. She was the woman behind the man and Emma did more for Carl than just be a wife, housekeeper, and mother. She was the steady center to his life. But Emma learned from Carl too and she became a talented and knowledgeable analysis herself. Clay does not hold back from the less than wonderful details about their life together. Carl was unstable and that affected Emma but she had to be the strong one and the faithful one. Carl was so busy being Carl Jung that he never really understood what Emma gave him. But in the end Emma found her own way in life and I think that she was happy with her life in the end.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I was given this book in exchange for an honest review by Harper Collins.