Memories, Dreams, Reflections

by Carl Jung

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Carl Jung's memoir/autobiography/psychological self history "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" is an unconventional text in many ways, because it includes his own interior thoughts as well as interviews and correspondence, forming a fragmented narrative that bucks the linear stream of other memoirs. One of the ways it defies the traditions of conventional autobiography is in its treatment of characters in Jung's life: often, major characters in his life are relegated to minor or nonexistent roles in the text.

Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, spends most of his time reflecting on his own interior journeys, and you could say that he is the main character in his own text. Several people who had huge roles in his life, like his wife and another woman who he had an intense affair with, go unmentioned or are relegated to footnotes, but there are a few characters who play central roles in the text.

Aniela Jaffé is a largely unseen but important character in the book, as she is Jung's longtime assistant and the person he is in conversation with for much of the book's text.

Another major character is the only other twentieth-century psychoanalyst more famous than Jung, Sigmund Freud, who Jung had a rocky and ultimately ill-fated relationship with. Both men were highly influential but ended up being driven apart by theoretical differences in their approach.

A range of minor characters pass through in the form of psychiatric patients, but these are important mostly because of the way they influenced Jung's thinking, rather than the development of their character in the text.

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