To Herbert Read
Dear Mr. Read, Pro tempore on Rigi, 17 October 1948
As I have read your Green Child I feel under a certain moral obligation to thank you for kindly calling my attention to its existence.
I feel not naturally drawn to what one calls “literature,” but I am strangely attracted by genuine fiction, i.e., fantastical invention.
Inasmuch as fantasy is not forced and violated by and subjugated to an intellectually preconceived bastard of an idea, it is a legitimate and authentic offspring of the unconscious mind and thus far it provided me with unadulterated information about the things that transcend the writer’s conscious mind.
Most writers hate this point of view.
But I assume that you do not, otherwise you would not have shoved your book anywhere near my vicinity.
have read it right through in one day and it gave me a rumbling in the depths that kept me awake for the better part of the night.
It is, above all, wonderfully English: you go to bed without any particular forebodings and with no plans or intuitions whatever and you wake up in the morning being the unaccountable proprietor of 30,000 square miles of virgin country, where you can’t help being immensely useful and efficient.
Happily enough you don’t know that you never were really there, since you discover after 20-30 years that the thing you really meant has been left behind in your native village.
What you rediscover is a compensation for all the things you have professed and lived for a lifetime.
This green folk-helas-was real enough, but had a hell of an existence during your absence.
What lovely unconventional things you have missed!
From most enjoyable promiscuous baths up to the highest regions of wisdom!
Here my Acheron began to shake.
You touched upon the alchemical arcanum par excellence, the philosophers’ stone, a really enormous problem that is actually very much on my mind indeed.
The shocking thing is that the Stone symbolizes a most highly spiritual idea, namely that age-old and universal image
of the Anthropos (f.i. Christus.)
What does it mean that Spirit itself, even the divine 1rV£vtta is stone, or that stone’s spirit?
Such ideas are by no means intellectual inventions, on the contrary they are authentic products, natural growths of the unconscious.
There is nothing arbitrary about them.
In your story the two worlds don’t touch each other, i.e., their point of contact is rather painful.
It is a case of either/or.
This is quite true, even immensely so.
The right hand does not know what the left is groping for.
This is our worldwide “psychologie a compartiment.”
An old alchemist reading your novel would have wept for sheer joy.
It did not make me weep, but it tricked my mind into action and I had to solve all the riddles you have dished out.
So f.i. your number 5,3 where there ought to be a 4, and why is this underworld so green and moldy and so circular and so purgatory-like?
I don’t want to submerge you with the outbursts of my funny mind.
I just wished to give you at least a taste of the reactions your book has released. They are meant to be a small token of my gratitude for a day of intense enjoyment and interest.
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 509-510.