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Labyrinths by Catrine Clay

Labyrinths by Catrine Clay
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Carl Jung had many secrets, said Paula Byrne in The Times. As a boy, he was sexually abused. As an adult, he believed himself split between two selves, the “extroverted” Personality No. 1 and the “tortured” Personality No. 2. When Emma Rauschenbach, a handsome young Swiss heiress, fell in love with him in 1899, she saw only the “charismatic” doctor devoted to his work. But as Catrine Clay shows in this well-judged portrait of the couple’s marriage, Emma soon became acquainted with her husband’s “darker” side. Jung was “tormented” by the belief that he was going mad, said John Carey in The Sunday Times. He kept a gun by his bed, vowing to shoot himself if his anxiety became unbearable. He would fly into “sudden” rages and behaved “like a spoilt child” at mealtimes, flicking peas across the table. But Emma’s “biggest worry” was his “relations with other women”. Both patients and students regularly fell in love with Jung, and he had intense relationships with at least two women (though there is little evidence that he ever slept with them). Understandably, the “blizzard” of gossip that followed her husband distressed Emma, who emerges from Clay’s account as a model of restraint.

It’s an “all too familiar” story, said Lucy Scholes in The Observer: the “genius husband who strays, the wife who graciously holds the home together”. Often taken for granted during her lifetime, Emma has also been overlooked since her death in 1955;Labyrinths is the first mainstream publication to acknowledge her “integral role” in the development of Jungian psychology. As Clay writes: “The world would not have had the Carl Jung it knew without Emma Jung, steady in the background.” This is a “gripping story” of two “talented” people who together “shaped the brave new world of psychoanalysis”.