March 11, 2010 (REVISED June 2, 2010) Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung's "Red Book" Is Focus of Library Exhibition Opening June 17

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Contact: View the exhibition online.

Nearly a century after its creation, “The Red Book” by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) will be the centerpiece of a new Library of Congress exhibition titled “The Red Book of Carl G. Jung: Its Origins and Influence” on view June 17 through Sept. 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in the Thomas Jefferson building, located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

The 205-page illustrated manuscript—in the author’s own hand—had been locked in a vault after Jung’s death. With permission from Jung’s heirs, W.W. Norton published a facsimile edition in October 2009. Edited by distinguished Jung scholar Sonu Shamdasani of the Wellcome Trust Center of University College, London, the book has already been reprinted to meet the significant demand.

The original work, created between 1914 and 1930, has been brought from the Foundation of the Works of C.G. Jung to the United States to be displayed in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress.

“The Red Book” was the product of a technique developed by Jung, which he termed “active imagination.” Of the work, Jung said, “The years ... when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life … My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me.”

Following what has been called by some “a period of creative illness” following his professional break with psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Jung made his most important contributions to psychology by putting forth his theories of archetypes, the collective unconscious common to all human beings and individuation (self-awareness).

The exhibition will put “The Red Book” in context by displaying with it selected items from the Library’s rich collections that complement the work. They will reveal biographical information about Jung; the influences on him at the time of the book's creation; and the influence on 20th-century culture of the theories Jung began to develop while writing the book.

Drawn from a number of Library divisions, the items on display will include original letters between Jung and Freud that illustrate the differences that led to their estrangement; page proofs, annotated by Jung, of the English edition of his autobiography; first editions of many of Jung's most important publications; photographs of Jung at various ages; rare alchemy books that influenced Jung; a Tibetan mandala; original hand-colored illustrations by William Blake; and items that demonstrate Jung's influence on such artists as Martha Graham, Federico Fellini and Jorge Luis Borges and on popular-culture icons such as the film “Star Wars.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a public symposium will be held at the Library of Congress on June 19, 2010, featuring top Jungian scholars. While free and open to the public, seats for the symposium are filled and registration has been closed.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at


PR 10-052
ISSN 0731-3527