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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Carl Jung and “The World of James Joyce.”




Carl Jung and “The World of James Joyce.”

Introduction: The English writer Patricia Hutchins set out to explore James Joyce's background in Ireland and in the Continental cities where he lived.

In Zurich, she interviewed Jung at his house in Kiisnacht, on a date not readily evident, but probably in late 1954.

Miss Hutchins described her encounter with Jung in her book James Joyce's World (London, 1957), pp. 181 -84.

The passage as given here is slightly abridged, to omit a digression on other literary matters.

Patricia Hutchins: We could only arrange a meeting in the evening.

Thus I went out to the village of Kusnacht and made my way down a long, villa-edged road.

Going through white gates, at the end of a short avenue of trees I could see a lit doorway in the dark tower-shape of a house.

Soon a girl took me to a small ante-room on the first floor.

Indian dolls and toys were in glass presses and among books and papers on the table was a recent issue of Punch.

Downstairs someone whistled and a deep clock struck six across the atmosphere of quiet and good order there.

As I was ushered into a large library, over parquet and Indian carpets, there was only a standard lamp in a corner by the window so that furniture and pictures were indistinguishable.

Dr. Jung rose and shook hands, a bulky figure with a pleasant voice, and I sat down on a comfortable seat opposite him.

By some effect of the light behind his chair, or the angle of his glasses which enlarged the pupils, a curious distortion gave his look the full-powered concentration of a child or an animal.

It was so distracting that I shifted my position and it became more usual again.

We talked first of all of my study of Joyce's background, and Dr. Jung's brief glimpse of Ireland from a liner stopping at Cobh on the way back from America.

I mentioned Joyce's years in Zurich during the First World War and how Mrs. Rockefeller McCormick' had helped Joyce financially for a time and then abruptly ceased to do so.

"It has been suggested," I said, "that you were in some way involved, and that perhaps Joyce had offended the lady by refusing to be analyzed?"

"Well, now you tell me the story I may well have been, in an indirect way."

Dr. Jung explained that Joyce's name was then unknown to him and he had not met the writer personally until much later, when Joyce, whose daughter was then in a sanatorium, asked for a consultation.

Yet he recollected that before 1920 Mrs. McCormick mentioned she was supporting both an author and another artist at that time.

She was much troubled by the fact that the latter did not work.

Dr. Jung hesitated to tell her to cease these payments, but when the artist himself became his patient and told him of a recurrent dream in which he was bleeding to death, he
advised Mrs. McCormick to end an intolerable situation, with most satisfactory results.

Although Dr. Jung was not informed, she may well have decided to have done with Joyce and the manuscript of Ulysses as well.

"In the thirties I was asked to write an introduction to the German edition of Ulysses," he told me, "but as such it was not a success.

Later I published it in one of my books.

My interest was not literary but professional. . . . The book was a most valuable document from my point of view; I expressed this, as you know."

"You said that the experiences related were part of 'the cold shadow-side of existence"—I do not think that Joyce cared about that."

"The peculiar mixture and the nature of the material as presented is the same as in cases of schizophrenia, but dealt with by an artist.

The same things that you find in the madhouse, oh yes, definitely, but with a plan.

I wrote and apologized to the publisher for not being able to provide what he needed for the edition."

When Joyce approached the psychologist professionally in 1934, Jung had put the article and his apology for it out of his mind, but Joyce would hardly have done so.

"Certainly he seemed very restrained," Dr. Jung said when I mentioned this.

"Yes, now I remember it, during the hour or so while we talked of his daughter, it was impossible not to feel his resistances.

The interview was correspondingly uneventful and futile.

His daughter, on the contrary, was far more lively.

She was very attractive, charming—a good mind.

And her writing, what she did for me, had in it the same elements as her father's.

She was the same spirit, oh they cared for each other very much.

Yet unfortunately it was too late to help her."

The neurotic, like the child, is often very absorbent of the atmosphere created by those around him, especially when it in some way involves himself.

A remark disparaging the Doctor—"How could he know what is going on in my pretty little head"—purported to have been made by Lucia, suggests that no real rapport was possible between them.

_"Finnegans Wake?"

Dr. Jung „replied to my query. "I read parts of it in periodicals but it was like getting lost in a wood. Oh no, I could not manage it. Ulysses yes, but still
I do not understand why so many people read it, so many editions have been published."'

"Well, surely they needed certain things to be said.

In the twenties people wanted to read in print what they could not express themselves, about life, sex. . . .

That generation was freeing itself from so much; we hardly understand its situation now.

Then it seems to me that many problems inherent in Joyce's work are also those of the present-day world, in particular the adjustment of personal relations to science,
the question of over-population. . . ."

"Yes, yes, that is the great problem, all over the world.

I have been in India and seen the under-nourished people, the thousands, thousands born there.

There is the important question of food, of food production.

How are they all to be fed?" '

Dr. Jung enlarged on this theme in a flow of sentences, one upon another, and with that quick, unsought illustration which characterizes his prose.

As he stood up to go I was aware of his fresh, full face, and that there was a particular attractiveness about the man by his very largeness and health of mind.

"I am glad," he concluded, "that I do not have to face the difficulties of the future.

I shall be eighty in July 1955, you know.

They are so very great indeed."

"Well, I think you have done your share in helping other people—enough for one lifetime.

We'll have to try and find a way out anyway."

"Yes, yes."

As I got my coat from the ante-room I knew that by long habit he was watching, assessing me.

With more care than usual, as if to make a good impression, I turned off the light and shut the door.

"Is this an old house?”

I asked, to fill the gap before saying goodbye.

"No, but built after an ancient style." He smiled. "I am, you know, a conservative."' ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters ,Pages 239-243

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