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Erich Neumann was less willing to excuse Toni Wolff’s behavior.

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Jung-Neumann Letters


Wolff’s letter is missing.

Neumann replied to her writing that her letter had triggered “a prompt and so sharp a reaction

[…] that I thought it better to hold back my reply and to wait.

[…] I am convinced that if your letter had been spoken and not written that my reaction would have looked different, but in any case you will understand that the Zurichers’ reaction to my Mystic lecture and to the ‘Ethic’ have triggered my surprise and anything but my pleasure” (undated letter, Wolff and Neumann)

He hoped that a personal conversation in Zurich would clear out further misunderstandings.

Wolff responded in a letter on 27 July 1949 defending her position:

“I just do not know if there is any point in talking any more about the Ethic. I wrote everything to you that I have to say.

Evidently you have mixed me up with all the other.

I was not even at Ascona last year, I have nothing to do with the publication of your book, I am just a regular lecturer at the Institute and, otherwise, other ladies make the decisions.

Also, I told everyone I am on personal terms with [you] that is my view that your book should be accepted as a publication of the Institute.

I hope you still remember that I am one of those who recommended to you that you should even publish the ‘Ethic’” (Wolff and Neumann [NP]). ~Jung-Neumann Letters, Page 288, fn 465

In the case of Toni Wolff, Neumann was less willing to excuse her behavior.

At the beginning of April 1949 she wrote to Neumann that his ethical concept would not belong in the theoretical framework of depth psychology (see 76 N, 6 April 1949).

Neumann interpreted her letter as the manifestation of hostile sentiments toward him in Zurich.

He replied to her expressing his disappointment in a harsh and unambiguous manner.

In an unusually defensive way Toni Wolff justified her critique of Neumann’s book: I do not know if it is of much use to talk once again about the “Ethic.”

I did write to you everything that I needed to say.

Apparently, you have indeed mixed me up with everything else. I was not in Ascona last year, I have absolutely nothing to do with the publication of your book, I am a completely ordinary lecturer at the institute, and besides other women make the decisions.

I also have told every one I know personally that your book should be accepted as a publication of the institute.

You, hopefully, remember that I was one of those who advised you to publish the Ethic.

But I have to confess once again that I am unable to read a manuscript equally critically as a printed book. And it was important to me, with regard to the English translation, to revise certain critical passages.

I know England pretty well, and it was only in your interest. Why should I then make all this effort to go into such detail?

It was quite some work. It is a shame that the Ethic came out first. Thus it became, in a certain way, almost too important.

Finally, Neumann and Wolff found a way to reconcile, and when Toni Wolff died in 1953 Neumann wrote a moving letter of condolence to Jung, which gives an insight into the important role that she had played in the lives of both Erich and Julie Neumann. ~Jung-Neumann Letters, Page 337-338