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

3.71 (94 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 406 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 30mm | 476g
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062245147
  • 9780062245144

Review quote

-Catrine Clay's absorbing new biography charts the twists and turns in some of the key lives involved in that historical moment, in particular those of Emma Jung and her more famous husband Carl.---Financial Times
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Back cover copy

Emma was clever, attractive, and wealthy, one of the richest heiresses in Switzerland, when, at age seventeen, she met and fell in love with Carl Jung, a brilliant but penniless doctor working in a lunatic asylum. Determined to share his adventurous life and to continue her own studies, she was too young to understand Carl's complex personality, which was laden with secrets, or to conceive what dramas lay ahead.

Labyrinths tells the story of Emma and Carl's unconventional marriage, their friendship and subsequent rift with Sigmund Freud, and their contribution to the development of psychoanalysis. In its many twists and turns, the Jung marriage was indeed labyrinthine, and Emma was forced to fight with everything she had to keep her husband close to her. Carl's belief in polygamy led to many affairs, including a menage a trois with a former patient, Toni Wolff, that lasted some thirty years. But as Emma came to understand her husband better, the marriage thrived, and finally, always encouraged by Carl, Emma emerged to become a noted analyst in her own right.
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Rating details

94 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 16% (15)
4 48% (45)
3 28% (26)
2 9% (8)
1 0% (0)
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