Cover image for A life of Jung
A life of Jung
Hayman, Ronald, 1932-
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, 2001.

Physical Description:
xxi, 522 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Bloomsbury, 1999.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF109.J8 H39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BF109.J8 H39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BF109.J8 H39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
BF109.J8 H39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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This "Meticulously Researched" (The Times London ) biography explores the complex character of one of the world's most influential psychoanalysts. Having gained access to a substantial amount of previously unpublished material, Ronald Hayman offers a rare insight into how Jung's revolutionary ideas grew out of his own extraordinary experiences. With notable objectivity, Hayman investigates the most crucial questions surrounding this enigmatic figure. What actually went on during Jung's sessions with patients? Was his mother insane? Was he a borderline case? What were the consequences of a homosexual episode in his boyhood? Was he pro-Nazi or anti-Semitic? Why did he fail to sustain any of his friendships with men? Did he sometimes mean "God" when he said the "Unconscious"? Why was he so secretive?

Author Notes

Ronald Hayman was born in Bournemouth and grew up in a hotel there. After studying English at St Paul's and Trinity Hall in Cambridge, Hayman went to drama school in London. While there, he began working as an actor in repertory theatre and in television.

Hayman's first play, The End of an Uncle, was produced in 1959. In 1967, after directing plays by Genet, Goldoni, and Brecht at the Arts Theatre, Stratford East and Welwyn Garden City, Hayman started writing books and broadcasting. Then, in his book Hitler and Geli, Hayman explored the remarkable, yet relatively obscure, story of the affair between Adolf Hitler and his young niece Geli Raubal, who died under mysterious circumstances. Some of Hayman's other works include exposes on Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Arthur Miller, and biographies of Sylvia Plath, Jean-Paul Sartre, the Marquis de Sade, and Tennessee Williams.

(Bowker Author Biography) Ronald Hayman is the author of numerous internationally acclaimed biographies, including works on Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Marcel Proust, Sylvia Plath, & Thomas Mann. He lives in London.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

The man who boldly proclaimed a new understanding of how the collective unconscious preserves humanity's archetypal memories, Jung shrank from the truth about his own convoluted psyche. Long hidden behind a shield of falsification and self-apotheosis, that deeply disturbing truth has at last yielded to Hayman's painstaking scholarship. From Jung's lonely boyhood of secretive rituals to his old age of grandiose delusions, Hayman limns the pioneering psychologist's solitary and erratic life. Deep in an intellect of rare capacity, Jung's private ambitions bubbled over with perilous desires. To illuminate the darker impulses in Jung's life, Hayman ferrets out the childhood beginnings of schizophrenic tendencies, chronicles his descent into near insanity, documents his flirtation with fascism, and details his abusive treatment of women. And although only specialists will comprehend the technical issues at stake, Hayman fully captures the human drama in Jung's rupture with his acclaimed mentor, Freud. Deflating a self-anointed god, Hayman gives us--once again--the ineluctable mystery of man. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

"The S.S. men are being transformed into a caste of knights ruling sixty million natives. [T]here is no more ideal form of government than a decent form of oligarchy," wrote Carl Jung of the German Nazis in the mid-1930s. One of the many strengths of this candid and discerning biography is that Hayman (Nietzsche: A Critical Life) enlists such provocative, alarming material to build a careful, nuanced portrait of his subject that neither excuses nor excoriates his actions and words. After studying psychiatry in Paris at the turn of the century (while also investigating the supernatural via s‚ances), Jung became an ardent admirer of Freud, with whom he agreed on many things (though Freud's emphasis on sexuality was a notable exception). Meanwhile, Jung pursued his own theories of the unconscious, using myth and archetype as models. His break with Freud before WWI was a defining moment in the development of his theory and his career. Without losing sight of Jung's total oeuvre, Hayman examines the enormous advantages Jung gained by maintaining ambiguous views of National Socialist policies. Indeed, Hayman shows how Hitler's attack on Jews gave Jung a chance to promote his own psychological theories (e.g., the defamation of Freud and other Jewish psychoanalysts led to the possibility for the ascendance of Jung's analytical psychology). Placing Jung's anti-Semitism in a broad cultural and professional context as well as exploring his other influences, including his complicated relationships with patients and disciples Hayman has produced a vital and moving portrait of the man and his time. While not detailed enough for scholars, this is a fine work for the general reader. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Swiss psychiatrist Jung (1875-1961) lived creatively, grandly, and sometimes irresponsibly. Spiritual, mystical, and at times schizoid, he brought us archetypes, the collective unconscious, introversion and extraversion, and anima and shadow, but his reputation suffers from affairs with patients, cultism, and apologies for Nazism. A biographer of Nietzsche, Sartre, Proust, Sylvia Plath, and Thomas Mann, Hayman knows German and retranslated parts of Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections for this book, first published in England in 1999. But Jung's complicated story lurches and tumbles in his hands. Research and life events are overpacked into paragraphs laced with orphan pronouns and non-sequiturs. Hayman mixes bit players with protagonists, the vapid with the gravid, and when he ventures an opinion, it is often silly, e.g., that patients benefit more from unstable than from stable therapists. Intrepid specialists may find some new material, but the great bulk is shamelessly derivative. Not recommended; libraries are much better off with Anthony Stevens's On Jung (Princeton Univ., 1999. rev. ed.) or Frank McLynn's Carl Gustav Jung (Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's, 1997). E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Hayman's important book contains much material not cited in earlier works on the life of Jung, some of it presented as evidence that Jung might have been (probably was?) antisemitic, pro-Nazi, and biased against women. Hayman cites people who became disenchanted with Jung, but he omits some important material that would lead the reader to draw different conclusions. For example, in his Zarathustra lectures, published in Nietzsche's Zarathustra, ed. by James Jarrett (CH, May'98), Jung makes numerous references to Hitler and Stalin as leaders who were likely to lead their nations into disaster. Hayman's discussion of Jung's therapy is, in this reviewer's view, too psychological: Hayman finds Jung not credible as a therapist because he had affairs with some of his patients, a position that makes Jung's ideas on therapy dependent on his morality rather than on their effectiveness. Hayman also attacks Jung for his use or misuse of Kant's notion of a priori knowledge; Hayman holds that the notion of archetypes is not supported by Kant's idea of a priori knowledge and therefore Jung is in error. Is the notion of archetypes useful to psychology or it is not? Whether Jung got it right or not is irrelevant. Offering some controversial material, this book should be in all libraries. M. W. York University of New Haven