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June 30, 2005

Oh Hell, Jung Lovers

by Ron Hogan

Terry Teachout got a letter from Deirdre Bair about a disturbing development in the publication of a German-language edition of her biography of Carl Jung:

"The heirs of C.G. Jung, led by their spokesperson Ulrich Hoerni, have raised objections concerning the alleged invasion of their privacy that, due to German law, has forced Knaus Verlag to include their opinions of Jung's life and work within the pages of my book. These will appear as annotations to my extensive notes that follow the text. This unprecedented invasion of my book by the Jung heirs is an appalling act and is happening against my will."

This isn't the first run-in Bair's had with the Jung family because of the book; last year, she wound up writing an open letter (PDF file) in response to some player-hating by Sonu Shamdasani, a Jungian scholar who serves as the family's editorial advisor (i.e., they pay him to prepare manuscripts for publication) and basically accused Bair of making stuff up. The ramifications of this latest maneuver are quite chilling for all historians and journalists, though, and it's a shame Bair can't just call Klaus Verlag and tell them to just pulp the whole thing if they can't publish it in uncontaminated form. Because German law or no German law, somebody needs to tell them to grow a pair.

(I haven't read Jung, but it's my understanding that she's not even close to being as down on the guy as Richard Noll was when I interviewed him back in 1997, a conversation that led to one of my favorite Q-lines: "I want to get back to the Nazis, but let's stick with polygamy for a second.")

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