Jung: A Biography by Deidre Bair - review by Liam Hudson

Liam Hudson

The Population of the Mind

Jung: A Biography

By

Little, Brown 881pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

FOUR YEARS AGO, Anthony Storr, that most level-headed of Jungians, judged Ronald Hayman's to be the best biography of Jung. Had he lived to read Deirdre Bair's, I'm sure he would have seen it as a challenge to Hayman's. Bair leans more heavily than Hayman towards the life as distinct from the work, but, in contrast to much of what has been written about Jung in the past, her tone and methods are gratifyingly dispassionate. She has had access to material that no other biographer has seen; and, to an unusual degree, she has the knack of weaving a wealth of factual information into a free flowing and absorbing narrative.

Jung: A Biography is admittedly heavy. There are some six hundred and fifty pages of densely packed type, backed by a further two hundred pages of notes. But Bair's thoroughness is a solace. As she herself says, the evolution of psychoanalysis has been fractious. 'In a field whose history is

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