"[This book] presents the gold that Jung believes the alchemists did produce from baser metals, and it consists of their guarded, confused, heretical anticipations of modern psychology. Not only did they prepare the way for chemistry; they also showed how man may free himself from the demons of the Unconscious." (The New York Times Book Review)
Psychology and Alchemy has been one of Jung's most influential works. In a prefatory note, he says: "In this present study of alchemy I have taken a particular example of symbol-formation, extending in all over some seventeen centuries, and have subjected it to intensive examination, linking it at the same time with an actual series of dreams recorded by a modern European not under my direct supervision and having no knowledge of what the symbols appearing in the dream might mean. It is by such intensive comparisons as this (and not one but many) that the hypothesis of the collective unconscious - of an activity in the human psyche making for the spiritual development of the individual human being - may be scientifically established."
The volume includes 270 illustrations, drawn largely from old alchemical books and manuscripts, many of which were in Jung's personal collection.
"Those readers of Psychology and Alchemy who believe that medieval and early modern alchemy was only a misguided effort to transform base metals into gold, or at best a crude preparation for scientific chemistry, experience a great and probably bewildering surprise. But even most of those who are more or less familiar with the early history of science and the importance of alchemy in it .
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