The phrase 'truth is stranger than fiction' rings throughout this article ("The Holy Grail of the Unconscious") regarding Carl Jung's mysterious Red Book. It had long been considered by many to be the most important unpublished work in the history of psychology - but that all changed this past October as a facsimile of the Red Book, with introduction and extensive footnotes by Sono Shamdasani, was finally published. (You can order it for yourself off Amazon by clicking here.)
Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.
So for the better part of the past century, despite the fact that it is thought to be the pivotal work of one of the era’s great thinkers, the book has existed mostly just as a rumor, cosseted behind the skeins of its own legend — revered and puzzled over only from a great distance.
THIS COULD SOUND, I realize, like the start of a spy novel or a Hollywood bank caper, but it is rather a story about genius and madness, as well as possession and obsession, with one object — this old, unusual book...