- PROF Deirdre Coleman - The University of Melbourne
- One Hundred Biographers: The reaction to Deirdre Bair’s biography
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And she'll be your person for LIFE. Nov 17, Pariskarol rated it did not like it. But it also contains a fatal flaw. The author, who has some credibility as a biographer, conducts a smear campaign with this book. Women, tragically, are always the first to condemn each other for that. Bair, with every word dripping condemnation, falls into that small-minded trap.
Reading this is like watching village women stoning an adulteress. Aug 26, Diane added it Shelves: biog-memoir. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This woman's life beggars belief. Never have I encountered anyone so spoiled, self-absorbed, or so addicted to having sex with every male and some of the females she met daily for many years.
She was certainly fortunate to have found Hugo and Rupert, who stuck with her through everything. History seems to be recording her mainly as Henry Miller's mistress, which is not only a sexist word but so inaccurate, since she supported him throughout the relationship, and with her husband's money, no less This woman's life beggars belief. History seems to be recording her mainly as Henry Miller's mistress, which is not only a sexist word but so inaccurate, since she supported him throughout the relationship, and with her husband's money, no less.
All of that, plus incest, bigamy, and more. At times I actually had to take a few days' break from Anais. I haven't read any of her fiction, and probably won't, but I am glad that I read this biography. I find that I can't rate it with the star system, though. It almost requires a whole new category! Dec 16, Elizabeth Hoffmann rated it really liked it. I kept trying to read her work but only her letters to Henry were of any interest to me.
After realizing I was fascinated by the idea of who I thought Anais was, I found this book and decided to educate myself. Anais was a much more complicated and complex person than I ever suspected. Deirdre Bair does an extraordinary job of truthfully showing the life path of this some what tortur I found Anais Nin through Henry Miller years ago and I often wondered why Anais's fiction never really grabbed me. Deirdre Bair does an extraordinary job of truthfully showing the life path of this some what tortured artist born into struggle and privilege with many lovers and adventures.
I am a different appreciator of Anais since finishing her biography. Sep 08, Vanessa rated it it was ok. Nin deserves better. Jul 06, jojo rated it liked it Shelves: reviewed. Nin is an interesting writer who in some ways is more relevant now than in her era. She was essentially amoral, with an interest in psychology and the glittering surface of things, portraying no one true answer, a sense of disconnection and an intense desire to connect. She is sensual but also oddly hollow in her erotica; a sort of compulsive collector of beautiful fragments. Her work is carefully written and is deceptively flowing at first sight.
It feels both lush and cold. She could not be cl Nin is an interesting writer who in some ways is more relevant now than in her era. She could not be classed as an independent woman, a second-wave feminist Beauvoir who Bair has also studied but was an innovator with some interesting ideas about the female experience. Many women have found her inspiring in her own way. An interesting subject, but it's very depressing reading a book by a biographer who seems to hate her subject. Even Nin's abortion is unreasonably written off as monstrous.
Nin did not have maternal impulses towards children, preferring to nurture creativity than producing more humans, and prioritised her creative life over motherhood. This seems to me a pragmatic use of her strengths; Bair accuses her of selfishness while mocking her devotion to artists she believed in. So she is labelled as simultaneously self-centred and pathetically servile. True, she was exploited financially by Henry Miller and had a mirror-like air about her.
Frankly a lot of Nin's life decisions and narcissism was quite cringe-inducing, and can read more as a defense mechanism for psychological disturbance, but she was also brave, unorthodox and seems to have used her writing to protect herself emotionally and better link her inner and outer world, and to make her experiences real and more valuable. I never really get the impression she is writing as she first sees. She was certainly a fantasist and narcissist, but these are not bad qualities in a writer. It would be difficult to write convincingly about reality without any imagination.
To an extent her work feels like she is trapped in her narcissism, but she produced some very beautiful work from her situation. The interpretation in Bair's book is a very simplistic and unforgiving tracing of a complex woman. The aftertaste of bitterness does not come so much from Nin's sometimes monstrous behaviour, but from the contempt of the author, which pervades every page. I don't feel that moralistic and judgemental biographies usually work well- they don't really bring you into the spirit of the subject or respect their internal reality.
I'd have liked to have read something that acknowledged her extraordinary points as well as the bad. Biography is a hard art, naturally even the best biographer is human and has a difficult and tiring task when confronted with a subject they dislike.
To be fair Nin is polarising; this book is a balance to the numerous rhapsodising accounts of her contemporaries and perhaps suits her better than a single definitive account. Dec 27, Fantods rated it really liked it. Author most certainly put blood, sweat and tears into the research. Multiple single paragraphs per chapter must have taken a week or more digging through the sources to back up. The prose is as well crafted as the research supporting it; if Bair's prose lacks lyricism, the book does not suffer for the lack.
Sometimes years or decades would pass before he got back into working on the original theory. Still, for a book about Jung with no definition of "the collective unconscious", or many of the other major theories attributed to him, is ridiculous. What the book does provide is a brain-numbingly detailed record of various meetings, none of which gave me one iota of information about Jung.
It was clear that Jung was usually not a very nice person. He was routinely arrogant, proud, lived only for his career and what he wanted to do, with no regard for others. Toward the end of his career, if everyone in a psychological society that he was a member of offered new ideas, Jung would force them out of the group. People had to base their entire idea of psychology using only his own ideas -- nothing more, nothing less. For decades he was married but carried on an affair with another woman, who came to the house many times per week, while his wife and children were home, to enjoy dinner, or meet with him privately in his office in the home.
Repeated mentions of Jung's lifelong interest in "alleged mystical, mythological and religious underpinnings of his theories" page , along with a lifelong fascination and investigations into alchemy, make me wonder if Jung is the brilliant father of many psychological theories, or just a nut. Jung claimed to have "visions" and dreams that he would explore to the degree that, to me, made him seem to be unstable at times.
After slogging thru this book, I am no longer interested in reading more about this man or his supposed theories. Dec 06, Clif rated it it was ok. I got through it. A good biography offers insight into the times as well as the subject. This account leaves the man isolated from events. World War 1 passes almost without notice and World War 2 comes and goes without much disturbance beyond problems with the mail and rationing while living a life in isolation in Switzerland.
All the while this association or that is being formed around Jung, the leadership of each bickering about the purpose of the group and all hoping to find favor with Jung. I I got through it. In short, Jung becomes famous, analyzes a great many people only a few of whose cases are described, using a method only touched upon, is adored by the rich and famous who flit back and forth across continents to see him and even pay for him to do the same for them.
He then loses interest in individuals, passes analysis on to apt patients, who then sanction their patients to analyze others. The master then wants only to be left to his work on such very questionable things like alchemy, astrology, and UFO's all the while seeking a grand scheme to tie things together. Like Freud he constructs an edifice of his own design that claims to explain how our minds work. Unlike Freud he isn't fixated on sex and childhood mentality. Like Freud he is awed by his own creation. Unlike Freud he is willing to admit modifications to his thoughts, but only if these are framed in a way to make it appear he had the modification in mind first.
You will get chapters of details about who thought what about whom, who was thought to be closest to Jung, how the minutiae of daily life was handled at the homestead.
I got excited upon beginning a chapter titled "The Solar Phallus Man" but it went nowhere. A Jung family member would love this book about a famous relative, but I kept wondering why I was reading. You'll get little about Jung's concepts on psychology. His differences with Freud are mildly interesting but not examined more than briefly. Jung's school of thought, called Analytical Psychology, hangs in the background. We get a vague idea about what a "complex" is, we find out that he pioneered the division of personalities into introverts and extroverts and there is mention of archetypes with no definition of the term.
The "collective unconscious" is mentioned many times with no explanation of what it is. When I finished I felt I had read an account of what I would call The Jung Society - those who fluttered around him, dedicated their lives to him like his wife and Toni Wolff, and a host of eminently forgettable others. Just as when I started, I remain unenlightened on his school of psychology. There are other biographies of Jung. I recommend giving one a try. Mar 18, D. I didn't finish Bair's biography of Jung.
My surrender should say nothing about the quality of Bair's research; it's a doozy. I got as far as ish pages before the breadth of names, concepts, and aside biographies context to help the reader understand Jung's environment convinced me I'd have to devote more time to finish the book. I'm eager to move on to other texts, so Bair and I will have to part company prematurely.
I "did" get far enough in to see Jung through middle-age. I would have I didn't finish Bair's biography of Jung. I would have liked to have moved into his alchemical studies I tracked this award-winning biography down in the hopes that it could reinforce what I read in Jung's own Dreams, Memories, Reflections and provide some measure of the man's shortcomings. Dreams, Memories, Reflections was, even by Jung's admission, a story of his inner-life. It was purposely and admirably one-sided. Bair provides a comprehensive reiteration of Jung's autobiography in modern, untranslated parlance, as well as an outside perspective of who he was, the significance of what he did, and how his many contemporaries regarded him.
Take Toni Wolff for example. She doesn't figure into Dreams, Memories, Reflections at all; however, Wolff was perhaps closer to Jung than his wife Emma, personally and professionally. She was his mistress and his intellectual partner. Sabina Speilrein too--Bair gives us information Jung was too proud or ashamed to include in his life story. It's probably a sin to write more than one paragraph about a book you haven't and likely won't finish, so I'm now exiting stage left. Jung is a tremendous biography--I can't imagine organizing a book like this.
Bair must be a robot or something. Props, kudos, etc. A thoroughly researched and for the most part well written biography. Bair did tend to go too heavily into the machination of the Psychoanalytical Clubs. Her in-depth delving into the politics of the writing and publications of Jung's "so called autobiography" did veer off into the realm of the mind-numbing.
Otherwise a very worthwhile read. Jul 03, Raul Popescu rated it it was amazing.
Sep 05, Elizabeth rated it really liked it. This is a fascinating look at a complicated man. Deidre Bair has managed to show him as a flawed man whose curiosity helped him create psychology as we know it. His relationships are fraught with difficulty. He is inconsistent and hates criticism. He is constantly searching for the connection between our interior world and the exterior world of both mythology and dreams. The description of getting "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" published will resonate with anyone who has worked in publishing.
Th This is a fascinating look at a complicated man. The author's wishes, the editors' wishes, the translators It is a publishing nightmare, yet somehow the book got published. It is certainly the one with which I first became familiar with Jung. Time to read it again. Bair gives a great exhaustive history of Jung's life, but as a psych-minded person, I wish she would have done more on going into the theories which Jung created and how his personal life lead to the development of the collective unconscious, archetypes, etc.
She goes into more detail on Jung's interest in alchemy but mainly as it created and destroyed some of his close relationships. Learning more about Jung and all of his nuances as a very private man who couldn't help but self-promote relentl Bair gives a great exhaustive history of Jung's life, but as a psych-minded person, I wish she would have done more on going into the theories which Jung created and how his personal life lead to the development of the collective unconscious, archetypes, etc.
Learning more about Jung and all of his nuances as a very private man who couldn't help but self-promote relentlessly was pretty a great read, but I now want to follow it up with a refresher on his theory and view of humanity in the world. May 22, Erin rated it it was amazing. If you want to study Jung, I highly recommend this book. It's written by a biographer not a Jungian so it's accessible to any reader. I also found it an aid to helping me understand Jung's own writing since it contextualizes and grounds him in world history. Oct 01, Lewis rated it did not like it.
This book is fraught with numerous errors in scholarship. A few of the errors cited in Footnotes by Shamdasani are: Bair noted that Jung asked Cary Baynes to write his biography in the s, without citing a source Bair, , p. This copy of the protocols was donated by Helen Wolff to Princeton University Press, w This book is fraught with numerous errors in scholarship. This copy of the protocols was donated by Helen Wolff to Princeton University Press, who in turn donated them to the Library of Congress in , placing a ten year restriction on them.
I studied these in , and they have been on open access since Bair stated that the copy in the Library of Congress, which is in the Bollingen collection, is restricted , p. This is actually unrestricted and was moved to a separate collection. Countway ms. During the editing, there was some discussion about one passage in the manuscript. This manuscript is on open access. Adler, , p. However, as the documents cited here show, this letter is in consonance with a number of other critical statements by Jung.
In the late s, research on the composition of the text was concurrently and independently undertaken by Alan Elms and myself see Elms and Shamdasani Prior to this, the status of the text was unquestioned in the public domain. Bair claimed that the divergences between the English and German editions caused led to speculation concerning censorship between scholars from the moment that the work was published , p.
This was simply not the case, as there was no public debate concerning censorship until our research was published. No evidence is given of this, and Bair does not even provide the reference for anything that I have written on the subject. Jung discussed his relationship with Toni Wolff in the protocols, LC, p. Bair stated that in the protocols she read, there was no discussion of this , p. In , Fordham had gone to Zurich to meet Jung for training, and was turned down, due to the difficulty of foreigners finding work.
Fordham , pp.
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Bair misdated this meeting to the early years of the Second World War and claimed that by this time Fordham was angry that Baynes had published an account of his analysis which was too easily recognizable , p. Over the course of many conversations I held with Fordham between and , I did not notice any resentment expressed towards Baynes or Jung: his attitude towards them was one of admiration and gratitude.
Jung to Read, 17 July , RA. The citations here indicate that this was not the case. Franz Jung recalled heated discussions between Jung and Hull on issues of translation. He noted that Hull would come to see Jung with a completed translation, and would be unwilling to correct what he had done personal communication.
Jung, CW 5, , pp. Bair misdated this episode to , p. Bair described Barbara Hannah as a lesbian Bair, , p. Why should I want him to die? I had come to learn. Freud identified himself with his theory—in this case, his theory of the old man of the tribe whose death every young man must want; the son must want to displace the father. This point is repeated by Paul Roazen , p. Oeri, , p. Bair claimed that Jung did not practice hypnosis or believe in its powers p.
This is not the case.
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Bair mistakenly stated that this occurred on their first meeting p. A number of years ago, a copy was given to William McGuire for his personal study. McGuire subsequently deposited them in the Library of Congress. The ETH requested the return of their materials.
PROF Deirdre Coleman - The University of Melbourne
Bair stated that the Jung estate claimed ownership of the papers , p. While Jung was in America on this trip, Bair claimed that Emma Jung wrote to him usually every day , p. However, there are no letters from Emma Jung to C. Jung in there personal communication, Andreas Jung.
The letter cited to Bjerre cited above suggests otherwise. Bair erroneously stated that he gave a series of lectures , p. The work applied the libido theory to the interpretation of mythological symbols. Frank Miller wrote an article in French, to which Flournoy wrote an introduction. Bair also claimed that Frank Miller actually invented her fantasies p. There is no evidence to support this. On Frank Miller, see Shamdasani, Bair claimed that in the second part of the work, Jung argued that the sex drive did not have primacy, as other factors were present, such as the archetypes of the collective unconscious , p.
One Hundred Biographers: The reaction to Deirdre Bair’s biography
Bair claimed that in the protocols, Jung identified this figure as Maria Moltzer p. Such an explicit identification is not found in the protocols in the Library of Congress. The argument for Moltzer as the woman in question was made by myself Shamdasani, , p. If there exists documentation where Jung explicitly made this identification, it should be produced.
Bair misdated this to p.
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On Moltzer, see also Shamdasani, b. Protocols, LC, p. Bair claimed that Emma Jung was forbidden to read the Black Books, and that in early , Toni Wolff was the only person to read them. Material in the Jung family archives suggests otherwise, as will be clear when the Red Book is published. Information from Andreas Jung. Bair erroneously claimed that he was away more than he was at home that year p. Neither in Memories, nor in the Black Books are these motifs to be found.
Bair also stated that the figure of Philemon led Jung to study Gnosticism p. Actually, they are in separate bedrooms. Bair, , p.