The Red Book

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By | From the Collections

It’s not often books purchased by the Wellcome Library have guested on a prime time American crime show, but then again, Carl Jung’s The Red Book is no ordinary work.

A facsimile of Carl Jung’s Liber Novus (New Book), The Red Book was only published for the first time last year. It records in words and images the innermost feelings and thoughts of Jung, who started the work after undergoing an intense spiritual and mental crisis in the 1910s. According to the book’s editor Prof Sonu Shamdasani, the publication of the work is an enormously important event in the history of psychology: the whole of Jung’s career can now be reinterpreted through this intense work.

Both literally and metaphorically a weighty tome, the shelves of the Wellcome Library hold a number of copies of The Red Book and all are available to our readers. For an introduction to the work, BBC Radio 3 devoted the interval to last Saturday’s Prom concert to a discussion of the work between presenter Bidisha, Prof Shamdasani and artist Bettina Reiber (and to sample the book’s visual style, take a look at this BBC Slideshow).

The discussion will be available to listeners in the UK through the Radio 3 website until next Saturday: the Red Book feature begins 10 minutes into the programme.

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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