Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 304
Memories, Dreams, Reflections is an autobiography of Carl Jung’s life. Unlike most autobiographies, this is not a narrative of the events of his life; rather, it is a psychological look at Jung’s revelations. For example, Jung only briefly states that he has a wife and children. However, he in no way explains the value of these people in his life. He is far more concerned the internal workings of his mind than the external realities of his life.
In line with his career, the book is filled with Jung’s recollections and the psychological meanings behind them. In the first several chapters, Jung reflects on his childhood at length and considers how his development brought him to his theories. He explores sexuality, personalities, disorders, anxiety, dreams, and relationships.
The remaining chapters are conversations that Jung had at the ripe age of 81 with his dear friend Aniela Jaffé. Jaffé later edited the conversations and removed herself from them entirely. In his conversations with Jaffé, Jung describes his travels to Africa, India, and Italy. He intended to travel in order to gain a greater understanding of European culture from a different point of view. Through his travels, he came to consider the difference between culture and human nature.
In addition, he shares his many dreams. He is a thorough documentarian of his dreams, and he draws many different conclusions about the past and present from them. In a separate chapter, he dives into this relationship with Freud. He highlights how influential Freud was in his theoretical development. However, he also puts distance between himself and Freud’s theories of sexuality. Jung believes that while sexuality is a central human experience, it is not so central to human consciousness. In Jung’s exploration of consciousness, he balances free will and the abstractness of human thought.
Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 840
Memories, Dreams, Reflections can be considered as either autobiography or biography. Carl Gustav Jung began writing and telling the stories that would eventually become the book in 1957. He continued to work on the manuscript until shortly before his death in 1961. It was first published shortly after his death, after editing by his assistant Aniela Jaffé and others. Jung wrote five chapters himself. The rest of the book was assembled from interviews, unpublished writings, and a now-published seminar. Jaffé, with the close involvement of Kurt Wolff, selected material, edited it, arranged it thematically, and then organized it into a series of approximately chronological chapters. Jung’s attitude toward the project fluctuated. For example, after reading the early manuscript, he criticized Jaffé’s handling of the text, complaining of“auntifications.” Also, he seemed to dread public reaction and expressly requested that this book be omitted from his collected works. However, he also seemed to want to reveal himself, to convey his intentions and the conditions from which his work grew.
The prologue to Memories, Dreams, Reflections makes it clear that Jung’s inner experiences form the prime material of his scientific work. Indeed, the book provides little information about Jung’s life or external circumstances. For example, the book mentions Jung’s wife, née Emma Rauschenbach, by name only once, in a footnote, and completely omits anything about Toni Wolff, with whom he had an intense affair. Instead, it concentrates on Jung’s inner reality and crises.
The text is a story of Jung’s life from the perspective of old age and mature psychological understanding. The first three chapters, on his school years, reveal a highly unusual boy who was full of contradictions. He was an extraverted and...
(The entire section contains 1144 words.)
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