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Number 14: Summer 2019

Whose Story? Review: History of Modern Psychology, Lectures Delivered at ETH Zurich, Volume I, 1933-1934, by C. G. Jung, edited by Ernest Falzeder and translated by Mark Kyburz, John Perk, and Ernest Falzeder, Princeton University Press, 2019, ISBN: 978-0-691-18169-1

Yael Pilowsky Bankirer

This volume is a detailed reconstruction of the first semester in a series of public lectures that Jung delivered at the ETH in Zurich between 1933-1941. “Like a complex Jigsaw puzzle”(1i), the editors assembled different transcripts and notes taken by participants at Jung’s lectures which, during many years’ work, has been translated, compared and edited. While “no longer being able to ask Jung himself”, this long editing process took on the challenge to come “as close as possible to what he [Jung] actually said.” (xxxi) Apart from the venture to reach Jung’s precise words, this volume provides the reader with the historical and political context of the lectures – the ETH context ; the building ; university courses that were given and their significance to Jung’s career ; The history of the lectures’ notes and publications; and the chronology of historical events between 1933-1941 – in order to give a sense of the space, to capture the zeitgeist, and to provide the feeling tone of the lectures with “Jung the orator” (xxix). This restoration that aspires to articulate the most accurate historical voice from a mosaic of different sources touches precisely on the question of history – and its relation to psychoanalysis – that Jung brings to the foreground in this volume.

In this seminar – given between 1933-34 and titled ’History of Modern Psychology ‘– Jung moves beyond the familiar understanding of history as a mere study of the past. Beginning with the Enlightenment, bringing into consciousness “profound doubt” (6), through the Kantian critique of knowledge, he sketches different theoretical movements in Germany, France and England – a long line of philosophers and scientists that have focused on the psyche as their research subject. Following the all-male register that has influenced the development of modern psychology, he then adds another kind of experience, that has predominantly been outcast as irrelevant. “History as you know” he explains, “has always chronicled individual lives and