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Shengold, L. (1976). The Freud/jung Letters: The Correspondence Between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung: Edited by William McGuire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974, xlii + 650 pp., $17.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 24:669-683.

(1976). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 24:669-683

The Freud/jung Letters: The Correspondence Between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung: Edited by William McGuire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974, xlii + 650 pp., $17.50.

Review by:
Leonard Shengold, M.D.

When Carl Jung, then an old man, was asked about publishing his correspondence with Sigmund Freud, he said that he felt the letters were not of great scientific interest. In the sense that these letters contain no new exposition of thought, he was right. There is important dialogue about psychosis and narcissism (areas that are still being explored and defined). And the reader gets a sense of the two men learning from each other and of the development of their ideas. Jung had the access to hospitalized schizophrenics that Freud lacked, and it was from Jung that Freud derived the supposed "fact that these patients reveal their complexes without resistance and are inaccessible to transference" (p. 35; my italics), which Freud used as a basis for some of his theorizing. We glimpse Freud at work on several of his basic concepts during these years. But this collection of letters is in marked contrast to the Fliess correspondence, which contains a much more active exchange of ideas (as gathered from Freud's letters).

Both sets of letters permit the study of the relationship between scientific ideas and the "complexes" (Jung's term for unconscious clusters of ideas) that, as Freud had discovered, determined them. We see what the two men meant to each other and how their major relationships were mutually invoked. The themes of rivalry with father and with brothers, and of homosexual love predominate in the Freud-Jung correspondence. For Freud, there is a coming to life in relation to Jung of all of his revenants: father, older brother, younger brother, mother, sister, early playmate, and, above all, of Wilhelm Fliess, the arch-revenant.

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