Jung Contra Freud: The 1912 New York Lectures on the Theory of Psychoanalysis

Jung Contra Freud: The 1912 New York Lectures on the Theory of Psychoanalysis

Jung Contra Freud: The 1912 New York Lectures on the Theory of Psychoanalysis

Jung Contra Freud: The 1912 New York Lectures on the Theory of Psychoanalysis


In the autumn of 1912, C. G. Jung, then president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, set out his critique and reformulation of the theory of psychoanalysis in a series of lectures in New York, ideas that were to prove unacceptable to Freud, thus creating a schism in the Freudian school. Jung challenged Freud's understandings of sexuality, the origins of neuroses, dream interpretation, and the unconscious, and Jung also became the first to argue that every analyst should themselves be analyzed. Seen in the light of the subsequent reception and development of psychoanalysis, Jung's critiques appear to be strikingly prescient, while also laying the basis for his own school of analytical psychology.

This volume of Jung's lectures includes an introduction by Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Professor of Jung History at University College London, and editor of Jung's Red Book.


Sonu Shamdasani

September 28, 1912. The New York Times featured a full-page interview with Jung on the problems confronting America, with a portrait photo entitled “America Facing Its Most Tragic Moment”— the first prominent feature of psychoanalysis in the Times. It was Jung, the Times correctly reported, who “brought Dr. Freud to the recognition of the older school of psychology.” The Times went on to say, “ [H] is classrooms are crowded with students eager to understand what seems to many to be an almost miraculous treatment. His clinics are crowded with medical cases which have baffled other doctors, and he is here in America to lecture on his subject.” Jung was the man of the hour. Aged thirty-seven, he had just completed a five-hundred-page magnum opus, Transformations and Sym- bols of the Libido, the second installment of which had just appeared in print. Following his first visit to America in 1909, it was he, and not Freud, who had been invited back by Smith Ely Jelliffe to lecture on psychoanalysis in the new international extension course in medicine at Fordham University, where he would also be awarded his second honorary degree (others invited included the psychiatrist William Alanson White and the neurologist Henry Head).

Jung’s initial title for his lectures was “Mental Mechanisms in Health and Disease.” By the time he got to composing them, the title had become simply “The Theory of Psychoanalysis.“Jung commenced his introduction to the lectures by indicating that he intended to outline his attitude to Freud’s guiding principles, noting that a reader would likely react with astonishment that it had taken him ten years to do so. The explanation lay in the fact that when he first encountered Freud’s work, he did not feel in a position to exercise criticism. To understand this more fully, we need to look back at Jung’s initial engagement with psychoanalysis.

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