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In 1945, at the end of the Second World War and after a long illness, C. G. Jung delivered a lecture in Zurich on the French Romantic poet Gerard de Nerval. The lecture focused on Nerval's visionary memoir, Aurelia, which the poet wrote in an ambivalent attempt to emerge from madness. Published here for the first time, Jung's lecture is both a cautionary psychological tale and a validation of Nerval's visionary experience as a genuine encounter. Nerval explored the irrational with lucidity and exquisite craft. He privileged the subjective imagination as a way of fathoming the divine to reconnect with what the Romantics called the life principle. During the years of his greatest creativity, he suffered from madness and was institutionalized eight times. Contrasting an orthodox psychoanalytic interpretation with his own synthetic approach to the unconscious, Jung explains why Nerval was unable to make use of his visionary experiences in his own life. At the same time, Jung emphasizes the validity of Nerval's vi
Princeton University Press
November 10, 2015
About the author
Craig E. Stephenson is a Jungian analyst in private practice. His books include Anteros: A Forgotten Myth and Possession: Jung's Comparative Anatomy of the Psyche.