Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Jung's Red Book

"This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.

And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.

[A] well-known literary type who glimpsed it...deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.

So for the better part of the past century, despite the fact that it is thought to be the pivotal work of one of the era’s great thinkers, the book has existed mostly just as a rumor, cosseted behind the skeins of its own legend — revered and puzzled over only from a great distance." [NYT]

The book in question is Carl Jung's Red Book, still unpublished almost 50 years after Jung's death, and almost 100 years since it was written, a private dream diary he kept during a particularly difficult time of his life.

The Red Book is about to be published, and The New York Times Magazine has this long but rewarding article discussing its arduous journey into publication.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

No joke

If I was asked to name athletic celebrities, Eddie Izzard's name wouldn't have made my list, but I would have been quite wrong. Izzard has morphed into a marathon runner, and not just of a single marathon! He's run the equivalent of 43 marathons in 51 days. Read all about it on the BBC.