The Jung-Kirsch Letters

The Correspondence of C.G. Jung and James Kirsch

Edited by Ann Conrad Lammers

© 2011 – Routledge

392 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415419215
pub: 2011-05-18
US Dollars$130.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

This book charts Carl Gustav Jung’s 32-year correspondence with James Kirsch, a German-Jewish psychiatrist who founded Jungian communities in Berlin, Tel Aviv, London, and Los Angeles, and adds depth and complexity to the previously published record of the early Jungian movement. Their letters tell of heroic survival, brilliant creativity, and the building of generative institutions; but these themes are also darkened by personal and collective shadows.

The Nazi era looms over the first half of the book and shapes the story in ways that are fateful not only for Kirsch and his career but also for Jung and his. In 1934, fearing that the undertow of anti-Semitism had taken hold of his beloved teacher, Kirsch challenged Jung to explain some of his publications for the German-dominated (now Nazi-dominated) International Society for Psychotherapy. Jung’s answer convinced Kirsch of his sincerity, and from then on Kirsch defended him fiercely against any allegation of anti-Semitism.

The letters are translated here for the first time and the illuminating editorial commentary provides unique and incisive insights into the writers’ world. Supported by appendices, including a series of revealing letters between Hilde Kirsch and Jung, The Jung-Kirsch Letters is an invaluable resource for those in the fields of analytical psychology and Jungian studies, as well as all those with an interest in learning more about the historical and cultural origins of the Jungian movement.


"An extraordinary record of a unique friendship between a Master and his devoted Jewish disciple. Essential reading for anyone interested in the development of analytical psychology." - Henry Abramovitch, Israel Association of Jungian Psychology, and Tel Aviv University Medical School, Israel

"In this fascinating, beautifully presented and paced correspondence, James Kirsch, a devoted student of Jung’s ideas, becomes—as analysand, colleague, consultee, and honest friend—a stand-in for all of us who would have liked to have been close enough to Jung to engage him on the topics that are most problematic in his writings. How Jung’s psychology, in both its possibilities and limitations, can actually focus a life has rarely been so interestingly documented." - John Beebe, C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, USA

"In this ably-translated and well-edited volume, we are provided with indispensable information to help us fill out a vital missing chapter in the evolution and establishment of Analytical Psychology. For the practicing psychotherapist, one of the most riveting aspects of the book, is the chance to witness Jung's illuminating commentary on Kirsch's clinical cases. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in depth psychology and its development." - Donald E. Kalsched, Jungian analyst and author

"One of the more amazing books to surface in recent publishing history… this correspondence is recommended to anyone who cares about how the modern exploration of psyche unfolded in the early and mid twentieth century.The reader has the opportunity to imagine his or her way into history, the climate of ideas, the challenges of a world erupting with inner and outer demons on every front as psychoanalysis is gaining a foothold in a world in turmoil.[Jung and Kirsch] both had several lifetimes of inner and outer transformations that reveal the early development of the depth psychological tradition as it grapples with the nature of soul, matter and spirit in a world challenged by enormous destructive forces dwelling within the individual psyche and in the outer world's collective mania. This book takes one on that journey in a most spirited and intelligent exchange between two fierce souls who dedicated their lives to exploring the innermost secrets of the interplay between the human, the divine, and the demonic." - Thomas Singer, The Huffington Post

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations. Kirsch, Preface. Abbreviations. Lammers, Introduction. The Letters. 1928-1932, Berlin. 1933-1934, Tel Aviv. 1935-1938, London. 1940-1947, Los Angeles. 1948-1949, The Institute. 1950-1952, Aion and Job. 1953, Jungians in L.A. 1954, Habent Sua Fata . 1955-1958, Zurich/Tokyo. 1959-1961, Mysterium. Appendix A: James Kirsch, 1934, "Then He Will Open the Ears of Men." Appendix B: Letters of C.G. Jung and Hilde Kirsch. Appendix C: James Kirsch, 1954, "'The Red One': A Psychological Interpretation of a Story by Jack London." Appendix D: A Brief History of the AAGP/IAAGP. Editor’s Note. Translators’ Note. List of Letters. Selected Bibliography.

About the Editor

Ann Conrad Lammers is a psychotherapist, writer, and teacher of theological ethics. She has degrees from Barnard, The General Theological Seminary and Yale. Having worked in the San Francisco area for twenty years, she now lives and works in New England, USA

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Jungian