Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jung,Federman and a Lot of News

Raymond Federman, 81, died last week. He immigrated to the US in 1947, just after the war and was a bilingual writer, teacher, and co-founderof the Fiction Collective, which has published some of the best experimental avant- garde fiction of the last two decades. More inportantly,his novels, Take it Or Leave it (considered one of the great road novels and the first major post- structuralist novel), and the legendary Double or Nothing,a "concrete" novel, much like concrete poetry where the words are used as physical material and on each page assume a different shape, are masterpieces of modernist writing.You couldn't do this quite as easily without an advanced computer program these days.We mourn the death of a great writer, who hopefully will be read more in retrospect.

C.G. Jung. The Philemon Foundation has been granted permission to publish the unpublished masterworks of Carl Jung, beginning with Liber Novus, the Red Book, where Jung wrote down over a period of 16 years (1914-1930) the results of his dialogues with the self and visions of spirit beings encountered therough an active use of the imagination supported by dramatic dialogue spoken out loud by Jung. These visions were to form the core of much of Jung's later writings, and are accompanied in the Red Book by Jung's own illuminated paintings of the visions and calligraphy- in a text and in a format that is as gorgeous as a medieval Book of Kells.Held close to Jung's intimates for 80 years, the release of the Red Book(published by WW Norton at $195 )is the publishing event of the year.
The release is accompanied by a major exhibit at the Rubin Museum of Art in NY City , which is also presenting a 3 month program of lectures, interviews with persons in the arts and films. On Friday night, Oct. 9, the head of the Philemon project, translator and essayist whose work appears in the Red Book, Dr Sonu Shamdasani gave a lecture with slides and Q and A at the NY Academy of Medicine to an assembled and entranced crowd, primarily consisting of authors, and Jungian analysts. It was a memorable event as it was to be surrounded by such an intellectually distinguished audience.I took a cab to GCS with a couple of Alabama Analysts( no it's not an oxymoron) in the afterglow.
The book itself is a magnificent production and is likely to revive popular interest in the importance of Jungian psychology(beyond the archetypes that comprise the basis of most screenplays and the personality types that Jung reported on- extroverts, introverts, those with highly developed intuition-- These are the basis of much of our common scientific knowledge-
What may flow as well is a reconsideration of the role and importance of alchemy as a symbolic basis for understanding the nature of humanity and life. That becomes clear as one reads the Red Book and compares it to Jung's great late-life texts.

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