Liber Novus, or: The Red Book

Thanks to an exceedingly generous Mercantile donor, we have just added to the collection Carl Jung’s previously secret Liber Novus or The Red Book.Jung, Red Book illustration This is to the “holy grail of the unconscious” what the yellow pages is to your region’s entire population.  It presents a truly mind-bending experience when leafed through–Jung richly illuminated and illustrated its pages, creating in a Blakean sense an absolutely amazing artifact and also an experience–probably as close as most of us are going to get to peyote-induced visions in a sweat lodge.  Much of the text is in German, with plenty of Greek and Latin inscriptions, but the occasional illuminated marginalia turns up in our fair language.  It  includes a translation and really pulls you into its maze of cross-references–I found myself looking in vain for an index.  Whether you’re an adherent to Jung’s theory of the Collective Unconscious, or consider it the colorful outpouring of a psychotic mind, this book is fodder for the imagination.  There’s this lovely I-Ching-esque plate (left), or (below) St. George slaying a dragon, an intertwining of mysticism and mythology covering the world’s religions.  If you don’t already, you’ll find yourself wishing you read German, the calligraphy is so intriguing.  Not certain yet where we will display this folio treasury of dreams, but you can’t, and shouldn’t, miss it.   -Ed Scripsi

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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