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Publication Deliberations of The Red Book


The Red Book

Publication Deliberations

From 1922 onward, in addition to discussions with Emma Jung and Toni Wolff, Jung had extensive discussions with Cary Baynes and Wolfgang Stockmayer concerning what to do with Liber Novus, and around its potential publication.

Because these discussions took place when he was still working on it, they are critically important.

Cary Fink was born in 1883.

She studied at Vassar College, where she was taught by Kristine Mann, who became one of Jung’s earliest followers in the United States.

In 1910, she married Jaime de Angulo, and completed her medical training at Johns Hopkins in 19II. In 1921, she left him, and went to Zurich with Kristine Mann.

She entered analysis with Jung.

She never practiced analysis, and Jung highly respected her critical intelligence. In 1927, she married Peter Baynes.

They were subsequently divorced in 1931.

Jung asked her to make a fresh transcription of Liber Novus, because he had added a lot of material since the previous transcription.

She undertook this in 1924 and 1925, when Jung was in Africa.

Her typewriter was heavy, so she first copied it by hand and then typed it out.

These notes recount her discussions with Jung and are written in the form of letters to him, but were not sent.

OCTOBER 2,1922

In another book of Meyrink’s the “White Dominican,” you said he made use of exactly the same symbolism that had come to you in the first vision that revealed to your unconscious.

Furthermore you said, he had spoken of a “Red Book” which contained certain mysteries and the book that you are writing about the unconscious, you have called the “Red Book”.

Then you said you were in doubt as to what to do about that book. Meyrink you said could throw his into novel form and it was all right, but you could only command the scientific and philosophical method and that stuff you couldn’t cast into that mold. I said you could use the Zarathustra form and you said that was true, but you were sick of that. I am too.

Then you said you had thought of making an autobiography out of it.

That would seem to me by far the best, because then you would tend to write as you spoke which was in a very colorful way.

But apart from any difficulty with the form, you said you dreaded making it public because it was like selling your house.

But I jumped upon you with both feet there and said it wasn’t a bit like that because you and the book stood for a constellation of the Universe, and that to take the book as being purely personal was to identify yourself with it which was something you would not think of permitting to your patients …

Then we laughed over my having caught you red-handed as it were.

Goethe had been caught in the same difficulty in the 2nd part of Faust in which he had gotten into the unconscious and found it so difficult to get the right form that he had finally died leaving the Mss. as such in his drawer.

So much of what you had experienced you said, would be counted as sheer lunacy that if it were published you would lose out altogether not only as a scientist, but as a human being, but not I said if you went at it from the Dichtung und Wahrheit [Poetry and Truth] angle, then people could make their own selection as to which was which. You objected to presenting any of it as Dichtung when it was all Wahrheit, but it does not seem to me falseness to make use of that much of a mask in order to protect yourself from Philistia-and after all, as I said Philistia has its rights, confronted with the choice of you as a lunatic, and themselves as inexperienced fools they have to choose the former alternative, but if they can place you as a poet, their faces are saved.

Much of your material you said has come to you as runes & the explanation of those runes sounds like the veriest nonsense, but that does not matter if the end product is sense.

In your case I said, apparently you have become conscious of more of the steps of creation than ever anyone before. In most cases the mind evidently drops out of the irrelevant stuff automatically and delivers the end product, whereas you bring along the whole business, matrix process and product. Naturally it is frightfully more difficult to handle.

Then my hour was up.


What you told me some time ago set me thinking, and suddenly the other day while I was reading the “Vorspiel auf dem Theater” [prelude in the theater]’182 it came to me that you too ought to make use of that principle which Goethe has handled so beautifully all through Faust, namely; the placing in opposition of the creative and eternal with the negative and transient. You may not see right away what

this has to do with the Red Book but I will explain.

As I understand it in this book you are going to challenge men to a new way of looking at their souls, at any rate there is going to be in it a good deal that will be out of the grasp of the ordinary man, just as at one period of your own life you would scarcely have understood it.

In a way it is a “jewel” you are giving to the world is it not?

My idea is that it needs a sort of protection in order not to be thrown into the gutter and finally made away with by a strangely clad Jew.

The best protection you could devise, it seems to me, would be to put in incorporate the book itself an exposition of the forces that will attempt to destroy it. It is one of your great gifts strength of seeing the black as well as the white of every given situation, so you will know better
than most of the people who attack the book what it is that they want to destroy

Could you not take the wind out of their sails by writing their criticism for them?

Perhaps that is the very thing you have done in the introduction.

Perhaps you would rather assume towards the public the attitude of “Take or leave it, and be blessed or be damned whichever you prefer.”

That would be all right, whatever
there is of truth in it is going to survive in any case. But I would like to see you do the other thing if it did not call for too much effort.

JANUARY 26,1924

You had the night before had a dream in which I appeared in a disguise and was to do work on the Red Book and you had been thinking about it all that day and during Dr. Wharton’s hour preceding mine especially (pleasant for her I must say) …

As you had said you had made up your mind to turn over to me all of your unconscious material represented by the Red Book etc. to see what I as a stranger and impartial observer would say about it.

You thought I had a good critique and an impartial one.

Toni you said was deeply interwoven with it and besides did not take any interest in the thing in itself nor in getting it into usable form.

She is lost in “bird fluttering” you said.

For yourself you said you had always known what to do with your ideas, but here you were baffled.

When you approached them you became enmeshed as it were and could no longer be sure of anything.

You were certain some of them had great importance, but you could not find the appropriate form-as they were now you said they might come out of a madhouse.

So then you said I was to copy down the contents of the Red Book-once before you had had it copied, but you had since then added a great deal of material, so you wanted it done again and you would explain things to me as I went along, for you understood nearly everything in it you said.

In this way we could come to discuss many things which never came up in my analysis and I could understand your ideas from the foundation.

You told me then something more of your own attitude toward the “Red Book” You said some of it hurt your sense of the fitness of things terribly; and that you had shrunk from putting it down as it came to you, but that you had started on the principle of “voluntariness” that is of making no corrections and so you had stuck to that.

Some of the pictures were absolutely infantile, but were intended so to be.

There were various figures speaking, Elias, Father Philemon, etc. but all appeared to be phases of what you thought ought to be called “the master.” You were sure that this latter was the same who inspired Buddha, Mani, Christ, Mahomet-all those who may be said to have communed with God.183

But the others had identified with him. You absolutely refused to.

It could not be for you, you said, you had to remain the psychologist-the person who understood the process.

I said then that the thing to be done was to enable the world to understand the process also without their getting the notion that they had the Master caged as it were at their beck & call.

They had to think of him as a pillar of fire perpetually moving on and forever out of human grasp.

Yes, you said it was something like that. Perhaps it cannot yet be done. As you talked I grew more and more aware of the immeasurability of the ideas which are filling you.

You said they had the shadow of eternity upon them and I could feel the truth of it.

On January 30, she noted that Jung said of a dream which she had told him:

That it was a preparation for the Red Book because the Red Book told of the battle between the world of reality and the world of the spirit. You said in that battle you had been very nearly torn asunder but that you had managed to keep your feet on the earth & make an effect on reality.

That you said for you was the test of any idea, and that you had no respect for any ideas however winged that had to exist off in space and were unable to make an impression on reality There is an undated fragment of a letter draft to an unidentified person in which Cary Baynes expresses her view of the significance of Liber Novus, and the necessity of its publication:

I am absolutely thunderstruck for example, as I read the Red Book, and see all that is told there for the Right Way for us of today; to find how Toni has kept it out of her system.

She wouldn’t have an unconscious spot in her psyche had she digested even as much of the Red Book as I have read & that I should think was not a third or a fourth.

And another difficult thing to understand is why she has no interest in seeing him publish it.

There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely; so does it re-envisage and clarify the things that are today; staggering everyone who is trying to find the clue to life … he has put into it all the vigor and color of his speech, all the directness and simplicity that come when as at Cornwall the fire burns in him.186

Of course it may be that as he says, if he published it as it is, he would forever be hors du combat in the world of rational science, but then there must be some way around that, some way of protecting himself against stupidity; in order that the people who would want the book need not go without for the time it will take the majority to get ready for it.

I always knew he must be able to write the fire that he can speak-and here it is.

His published books are doctored up for the world at large, or rather they are written out of his head & this out of his heart.

These discussions vividly portray the depth of Jung’s deliberations concerning the publication of Liber Novus, his sense of its centrality in comprehending the genesis of .his work and his fear that the work would be misunderstood.

The impression that the style of the work would mal(e on an unsuspecting public strongly concerned Jung.

He later recalled to Aniela Jaffe that the work still needed a suitable form in which it could be brought into the world because it sounded like prophecy, which was not to his taste.

There appears to have been some discussion concerning these issues in Jung’s circle.

On May 29, 1924, Cary Baynes noted a discussion with Peter Baynes in which he argued that Liber Novus could be understood only by someone who had known Jung.

By contrast, she thought that the book:

was the record of the passage of the universe through the soul of a man, and just as a person stands by the sea and listens to that very strange and awful music and cannot explain why his heart aches, or why a cry of exaltation wants to leap from his throat, so I thought it would be with the Red Book, and that a man would be perforce lifted out of himself by the majesty of it, and swung to heights he had never been before.

There are further signs that Jung circulated copies of Liber Novus to confidantes, and that the material was discussed together with the possibilities of its publication.

One· such colleague was Wolfgang Stockmayer.

Jung met Stockmayer in 1907- In his unpublished obituary; Jung nominated him as the first German to be interested in his work.

He recalled that Stockmayer was a true friend. They traveled together in Italy and Switzerland, and there was seldom a year in which they did not meet.

Jung commented:

He distinguished himself through his great interest and equally great understanding for pathological psychic processes.

I also found with him a sympathetic reception for my broader viewpoint, which became of importance for my later comparative psychological works.

Stockmayer accompanied Jung in “the valuable penetration of our psychology” into classical Chinese philosophy; the mystical speculations of India and Tantric yoga.

On December 22,1924, Stockmayer wrote to Jung:

I often long for the Red Book, and I would like to have a transcript of what is available; I failed to do so when I had it, as things go.

I recently fantasized about a kind of journal of “Documents” in a loose form for materials from the “forge of the unconscious,” with words and colors.

It appears· that Jung sent some material to him.

On April 30, 1925, Stockmayer wrote to Jung:

In the meantime we have gone through “Scrutinies,” and it is the same impression as with the great wandering.

A selected collective milieu for such from the Red Book is certainly worth trying out, although your commentary would be quite desired.

Since a certain adjacent center of yours lies here, ample access to sources is of great significance, consciously and unconsciously.

And I obviously fantasize about “facsimiles,” which you will understand: you need not fear extraversion magic from me. Painting also has great appeal.

Jung’s Transcript “Commentaries” (see Appendix B) was possibly connected with these discussions.

Thus figures in Jung’s circle held differing views concerning the significance of Liber Novus and whether it should be published, which may have had bearings on Jung’s eventual decisions.

Cary Baynes did not complete the transcription, getting as far as the first twenty-seven pages of Scrutinies.

For the next few years, her time was taken up with the translation of Jung’s essays into English, followed by the translation of the I Ching.

At some stage, which I estimate to be in the mid-twenties, Jung went back to the Draft and edited it again, deleting and adding material on approximately 250 pages.

His revisions served to modernize the language and terminology.

He also revised some of the material that he had already transcribed into the calligraphic volume of Liber Novus, as well as some material that was left out.

It is hard to see why he undertook this unless he was seriously considering publishing it.

In 1925, Jung presented his seminars on analytical psychology to the Psychological Club.

Here, he discussed some of the important fantasies in Liber Novus.

He described how they unfolded and indicated how they formed the basis of the ideas in psychological Types and the key to understanding its genesis.

The seminar was transcribed and edited by Cary Baynes.

That same year, Peter Baynes prepared an English translation of the Septem Sermones ad Mortuos, which was privately published.

Jung gave copies to some of his English-speaking students.

In a letter that is presumably a reply to one from Henry Murray thanking him for a copy, Jung wrote:

I am deeply convinced, that those ideas that came to me, are really quite wonderful things. I can easily say that (without blushing), because I know, how resistant and how foolishly obstinate I was, when they first visited me and what a trouble it was, until I could read this symbolic language, so much superior to my dull conscious mind.

It is possible that Jung may have considered the publication of the Sermones as a trial for the publication of Liber Novus.

Barbara Hannah claims that he regretted publishing it and that “he felt strongly that it should only have been written in the Red Book”

At some point, Jung wrote a manuscript entitled “Commentaries,” which provided a commentary on chapters 9, 10, and II of Liber Primus (see Appendix B).

He had discussed some of these fantasies in his 1925 seminar, and he goes into more detail here.

From the style and conceptions, I would estimate that this text was written in the mid-twenties.

He may have written-or intended to write-further “commentaries” for other chapters, but these have not come to light.

This manuscript indicates the amount of work he put into understanding each and every detail of his fantasies.

Jung gave a number of people copies of Liber Novus: Cary Baynes, Peter Baynes, Aniela Jaffe, Wolfgang Stockmayer, and Toni Wolff. Copies may also have been given to others.

In 1937, a fire destroyed Peter Baynes’s house, and damaged his copy of Liber Novus.

A few years later, he wrote to Jung asking if by chance he had another copy, and offered to translate it.

Jung replied: “I will try whether I can procure another copy of the Red Book. Please don’t worry about translations. I am sure there are 2 or 3 translations already. But I don’t know of what and by whom.”

This supposition was presumably based on the number of copies of the work in circulation.

Jung let the following individuals read and/or look at Liber Novus: Richard Hull, Tina Keller, James Kirsch, Ximena Roelli de Angulo (as a child), and Kurt Wolff Aniela Jaffe read the Black Books, and Tina Keller was also allowed to read sections of the Black Books.

Jung most likely showed the book to other close associates, such as Emil Medtner, Franz Riklin Sr., Erika Schlegel, Hans Trub, and Marie-Louise von Franz.

It appears that he allowed those people to read Liber Novus whom he fully trusted and whom he felt had a full grasp of his ideas.

Quite a number of his students did not fit into this category. ~The Red Book, Introduction, Pages 212-215