‘Labyrinths,’ Emma and Carl Jung’s Complex Marriage

07BOOKCLAY2-SUB-master180-v3Jennifer Senior at The New York Times:

Carl Jung called his separate selves “Personality No. 1” and “Personality No. 2.” No. 1 was a magnificent extrovert, performing his brilliance, steamrolling his colleagues, blowing away admirers with gusts of charm. No. 2, on the other hand, was a kettle of insecurities: introverted, anxious, tortured by voices and dark waking fantasies. At least once in his adult life, he seemed to suffer an episode of psychosis; as a young boy, images both psychedelic and profane would rudely obtrude on his thoughts, including a vision of God seated on a throne high above a cathedral and shattering its roof with a well-aimed bullet of ordure.

In his 1963 review of Jung’s autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott said it outright: “Jung, in describing himself, gives us a picture of childhood schizophrenia.” Yet through Jung’s own laborious exertions, he somehow healed himself. “At cost he recovered,” Winnicott wrote, “and part of the cost to him is what he paid out to us, if we can listen and hear, in terms of his exceptional insight.”

One could say that Jung made a psychoanalytic philosophy out of his doubleness. He theorized that many of us, not just the mentally ill, are split personalities, awaiting integration.

Subsequent generations of tortured souls may have benefited from Jung’s bewitching complexity. But one woman also married it. At just 19 years old, Emma Rauschenbach, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, tied her fate to this penniless, clever man, correctly intuiting that he would offer her something beyond the monochromatic tedium of an haut-bourgeois life. What she couldn’t have known was the parlous nature of his mental stability. Or that he’d been sexually molested as a boy.

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