C. G. Jung’s Red Book: Liber Novus

Edited and Introduced by Sonu Shamdasani

Translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck and Sonu Shamdasani

Foreword by Ulrich Hoerni

Jung termed the period between 1912 and 1918 his ‘confrontation with the unconscious’. It was through this that he developed his principle psychological theories of the archetypes, the collective unconscious and the process of individuation, and transformed psychotherapy from a practice predominately concerned with the treatment of the sick into a means for the higher development of the personality. This led to the development of analytical psychology as a theoretical discipline and as a form of psychotherapy. At the centre of this was an unpublished book entitled Liber Novus, also called The Red Book, upon which he worked for sixteen years. Its genesis may be briefly stated. In the winter of 1913, Jung deliberately gave free rein to his fantasy thinking and carefully noted what ensued. He later called this process active imagination. He wrote down these fantasies in the Black Books. These are not personal diaries, but rather the records of a self-experimentation. The dialogues that form these active imaginations can be regarded as a form of thinking in a dramatic form. When the First World War broke out, Jung considered that a number of his fantasies were precognitions of this event. This led him to compose the first draft manuscript of Liber Novus, which consisted in a transcription of the main fantasies from the Black Books, together with a layer of interpretive commentaries and lyrical elaboration. Here, Jung attempted to derive general psychological principles from the fantasies, as well as to understand to what extent the events portrayed in the fantasies presented, in a symbolic form, developments that were to occur in the world.

The material went through a number of drafts and was then recopied by Jung in an ornate gothic script into a large red leather folio volume, to which he added historiated initials, ornamental borders and a substantial number of paintings. The work was modelled after the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. The overall theme of the book is how Jung regains his soul and overcomes the contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation. This is ultimately achieved through enabling the rebirth of a new image of God in his soul and developing a new worldview in the form of a psychological and theological cosmology. Liber Novus presents the prototype of Jung’s conception of the individuation process, which he held to be the universal form of individual psychological development. This publication opens the possibility of a new era in the understanding of Jung’s work. It provides a unique window into how he recovered his soul and, in so doing, constituted one of the influential psychologies of the twentieth century.


Released on October 7, 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company, the Red Book is a landmark publication. This scholarly and historical edition provides the general reader with extensive notes and an introduction outlining the intellectual and historical contexts of the work. The folio-size volume, a full facsimile edition, includes 205 pages of text illuminated with Jung’s exquisite calligraphy and stunning artwork: 53 pages are full images, 71 pages contain both text and images, and 81 pages are pure calligraphic text.


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W. W. Norton & Company, New York Hardcover, 2009, $250.00 ISBN: 9780393065671 404 pages, 12.3 x 18, illustrations


A text edition, containing the complete text, introduction and scholarly apparatus.


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W. W. Norton, New York/ London Hardcover $39.95 December 2012 ISBN 9780393089080 600 pages/ 6 × 8.8 in


“This is a volume that will be treasured by the confirmed Jungian or by admirers of beautifully made books or by those with a taste for philosophical allegory.” — Michael Dirda, Washington Post Dreamy Sales of Jung Book Stir Analysis “… the breakout of the holiday book-buying season just may have been an elaborate, richly illustrated tome that records the dreams and spiritual questing of an author who has been dead for nearly half a century…. This month the book reached as high as No. 18 on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction extended best-seller list….. “The Red Book,” originally handwritten in ornate calligraphy and illustrated with intricate tempera paintings, all reproduced in Norton’s 15.4-inch by 11.6-inch volume, has proven to booksellers that books — printed on paper and embracing deep thinking — can sell, and sell well, even at a premium price.” New York Times, 24th December 2009



BRAZILIAN Portuguese title: O Livro Vermelho – Liber Novus Publishers: Editora Vozes Ltda, Rua frei Luís, 100 25689-900 Petrópolis, RJ, Brazil http://www.universovozes.com.br Translators: Liber Novus (from the German): Edgar Orth Introduction by Sonu Shamdasani (from the English): Gentil A. Titton and Gustavo Barcellos. Conceptual revision: Dr. Walter Boechat. ISBN for the illustrated edition: 978-85-326-3975-2 (85-326-3975-5) – Price: R$ 480,00 (USD 194 at today’s rate) Isbn for the readers’ edition: 978-85-326-4490-9 (85-326-4490-2) – Price: R$95,00 (USD 38,4 at today’s rate) CZECH publisher: Portal, s. r. o. (www.portal.cz) ISBN: 978-80-7367-767-1 (Red Book) ISBN: 978-80-262-0490-9 (Red Book, Reader´s Edition) translators: P. Babka; J. Bucková; H. Drábková; P. Patočka links: http://obchod.portal.cz/cervena-kniha/ http://obchod.portal.cz/cervena-kniha–ctenarska-edice/ special webside: http://www.cervenakniha.cz/ price: 4005 Kč (Red Book); 899 (Red Book, Reader´s Edition) FRENCH “Le Livre Rouge. Liber Novus” edition établie, introduite et annotée par Sonu Shamdasani, préface de Ulrich Hoerni, édition en langue française sous la direction de Bertrand Eveno, traduit de l’allemand par Christine Maillard, Pierre Deshusses, Véronique Liard, Claude Maillard, Fabrice Malkani, Lidwine Portes, et traduit de l’anglais par Béatrice Dunner avec le concours de Juliette Vieljeux et Pierrette Crouzet, TRANSLATORS FROM GERMAN = Christine Maillard, Pierre Deshusses, Véronique Liard, Claude Maillard, Fabrice Malkani, Lidwine Portes, TRANSLATORS FROM ENGLISH = Béatrice Dunner with Juliette Vieljeux and Pierrette Crouzet, PUBLISHERS = Paris, L’ICONOCLASTE / LA COMPAGNIE DU LIVRE ROUGE, 2011. ISBN 978-2-35204-141-2 Price 200 Euros The Red Book, Reader’s Edition, same data, except date = 2012, ISBN 978-2-35204-208-2 Price 29,90 Euros 3 Links to publisher’s catalogue www.arenes.fr www.editions-iconoclaste.fr GERMAN Jung, C. G. (2009): Das Rote Buch. Liber Novus. Herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Sonu Shamdasani. Vorwort von Ulrich Hoerni. Einleitung, Hinweise des Herausgebers zur Edition, Anmerkungsapparat und Danksagung aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Christian Hermes. Patmos, Düsseldorf (3rd edition: Patmos, Ostfildern 2013). ISBN: 978-3-8436-0467-3 Publisher: Patmos Verlag der Schwabenverlag AG, Ostfildern. Translation of introduction, editor’s annotations, footnotes and acknowledgement: Christian Hermes Price: 198 EUR Link: www.patmos.de ROMANIAN ISBN: 978-973-707-504-8 Publisher: EDITURA TREI Publication: 2011 Translators: Viorica Nişcov & Simona Reghintovschi Retail-price: 136 USD Link to the Romanian publisher’s website: http://www.edituratrei.ro/product.php/CG_Jung_Cartea_ro%C5%9Fie/2382/
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