Sunday, March 9, 2014

Carl Jung and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

[Carl Jung and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]

After my escapade with the boat, and my well-merited punishment, I began pondering these isolated impressions, and they coalesced into a coherent picture: of myself living in two ages simultaneously, and being two different persons.

I felt confused, and was full to the brim with heavy reflections.

At last I reached the disappointing realization that now, at any rate, I was nothing but the little schoolboy who had deserved his punishment, and who had to behave according to his age.

The other person must be sheer nonsense.

I suspected that he was somehow connected with the many tales I had heard from my parents and relatives about my grandfather.

Yet that was not quite right either, for he had been born in 1795 and had therefore lived in the nineteenth century; moreover he had died long before I was born.

It could not be that I was identical with him. At the time these considerations were, I should say, mostly in the form of vague glimmerings and dreams.

I can no longer remember whether at that time I knew anything about my legendary kinship with Goethe.

I think not, however, for I know that I first heard this tale from strangers.

I should add that there is an annoying tradition that my grandfather was a natural son of Goethe.

[Footnote: In regard to the legend, twice alluded to in this book, that Jung was a descendant of Goethe, he related:

"The wife of my great-grandfather (Franz Ignaz Jung, d. 1831), Sophie Ziegler, and her sister were associated with the Mannheim Theater and were friends of many writers.

The story goes that Sophie Ziegler had an illegitimate child by Goethe, and that this child was my grandfather, Carl Gustav Jung. This was considered virtually an established fact.

My grandfather says not a word about it in his diaries, however.

He mentions only that he once saw Goethe in Weimar, and then merely from behind! Sophie Ziegler Jung was later friendly with Lotte Kestner, a niece of Goethe's "Lottchen."

This Lotte frequently came to see my grandfather--as, incidentally, did Franz Liszt. In later years Lotte Kestner settled in Basel, no doubt because of these close ties with the Jung family."

No proof of this item of family tradition has been found in the available sources, the archives of the Goethehaus in Frankfurt am Main and the baptismal register in the Jesuitenkirche in Mannheim.

Goethe was not in Mannheim at the period in question, and there is no record of Sophie Ziegler's staying in Weimar or anywhere in Goethe's vicinity.

Jung used to speak of this stubbornly persistent legend with a certain gratified amusement, for it might serve to explain one subtle aspect of his fascination with Goethe's Faust; it belonged to an inner reality, as it were.

On the other hand he would also call the story "annoying." He thought it "in bad taste" and maintained that the world was already full of "too many fools who tell such tales of the 'unknown father'. "

Above all, he felt that the legitimate line of descent, in particular from the learned Catholic doctor and jurist Carl Jung (d. 1645)--discussed at the end of Chapter VIII--was equally significant.---Aniella Jafe.] ~Memories Dreams and Reflections