Book Reviews: Monumental Biography Whets Appetite for More; Carl Gustav Jung - A Biography by Deirdre Bair. Published by Little Brown. Price Pounds 25.00
Byline: CIARAN McKEOWN
CARL Gustav Jung was an intellectual giant of the 20th century, and Deirdre Bair's biography is appropriately monumental. It succeeds, almost overwhelmingly, in the two main functions of such a work: it gives a comprehensive picture and ''feel'' of who this remarkable man was; and it encourages a return to his own work, to explore it in this new perspective.
Deirdre Bair does not definitively resolve the many controversies in which Jung became embroiled in his long life.
But she does present the sifted evidence in a dispassionate, yet continuously engaging style, commanding extraordinary scholarship with a convincing tone of authority.
It is impossible to guess by the end whether she actually liked Jung.
Much as I admire his work and his approach to the psyche, I found myself moving from an assumption (derived almost entirely from his writing and thinking) that I would have very much liked this ''wise old man'', to feeling that I might have found him insufferable in many ways or at different times in his life.
But, despite strong personal reservations awakened by Bair's calmly presented picture, I found myself admiring him even more.
In spite of his scientific approach to religion for most of his life, this son of a Swiss pastor was no saint, and there is something paradoxically redeeming about the very human development of his tastes for travelling, fine wine, good English tobacco and the English style of dress.
He was larger than life in more ways than in his intellectual quests and achievements. …