A sensational, eye-opening account of Emma Jung’s complex marriage to Carl Gustav Jung and the hitherto unknown role she played in the early years of the psychoanalytic movement.
Clever and ambitious, Emma Jung yearned to study the natural sciences at the University of Zurich. But the strict rules of proper Swiss society at the beginning of the twentieth century dictated that a woman of Emma’s stature—one of the richest heiresses in Switzerland—travel to Paris to "finish" her education, to prepare for marriage to a suitable man.
Engaged to the son of one of her father’s wealthy business colleagues, Emma’s conventional and predictable life was upended when she met Carl Jung. The son of a penniless pastor working as an assistant physician in an insane asylum, Jung dazzled Emma with his intelligence, confidence, and good looks. More important, he offered her freedom from the confines of a traditional haute-bourgeois life. But Emma did not know that Jung’s charisma masked a dark interior—fostered by a strange, isolated childhood and the sexual abuse he’d suffered as a boy—as well as a compulsive philandering that would threaten their marriage.
Using letters, family interviews, and rich, never-before-published archival material, Catrine Clay illuminates the Jungs’ unorthodox marriage and explores how it shaped—and was shaped by—the scandalous new movement of psychoanalysis. Most important, Clay reveals how Carl Jung could never have achieved what he did without Emma supporting him through his private torments. The Emma that emerges in the pages of Labyrinths is a strong, brilliant woman, who, with her husband’s encouragement, becomes a successful analyst in her own right.
About the Author
Catrine Clay has worked for the BBC for over twenty years, directing and producing award-winning television documentaries. She won the International Documentary Award and the Golden Spire for Best History Documentary, and was nominated for a BAFTA. She is the author of King, Kaiser, Tsar and Trautmann’s Journey, which won a British Sports Book Award for Biography of the Year and was runner-up for the William Hill Sports Book Award. She is married with three children and lives in London.
“Impressive…An entertaining portrait.”
— New Yorker
“Clay’s narrative displays expert scholarship in drawing on a variety of archival sources, some never used before in a published study…with its imagery and dramatic tenor, this is a tale within which Jung himself would find many psychoanalytic riches, even as it places some of his greatest innovations at the feet of a fascinating woman.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Sympathetic, carefully researched…Emma’s volatile, difficult husband intrudes, resulting in a portrait of a troubled marriage and the rivalrous beginnings of psychoanalysis…A sensitive biography of a woman whose emotional and intellectual strengths were the ballast of her marriage and family.”
“Arresting, well-researched… Clay’s Emma was every bit the firebrand innovator Carl was, though without his psychoses and dramatic bravado, making her a real icon and this a compelling and significant biography.”
“Clay navigates the maze-like story with perspicacity and ease.… It’s a gripping story of two talented individuals, their fascinating, often troubled, but ultimately enduring partnership, and how together they shaped the brave new world of psychoanalysis.”
— The Observer (London)
“Clay remains a clear, unostentatious narrator … Emma’s voice - as well as her insight and daring - is loud and clear … admirable.”
— Daily Telegraph (London)
“Clay’s book is a warm-hearted tribute to Emma’s wisdom and tenacity.”
— Sunday Times (London)
“Labyrinths’ finally gives a voice to Emma … Clay’s story is riveting because the patients’ stories are so gripping … Clay creates a wonderful atmosphere in her writing and … negotiates the labyrinth with aplomb.”
— The Times (London)
“Catrine Clay’s absorbing new biography charts the twists and turns in some of the key lives involved in that historical moment, in particular those of Emma Jung and her more famous husband Carl.”
— Financial Times
“Engaging … acute … For Clay, Emma Jung’s quiet growth to dominance over the psychoanalytic establishment her husband had constructed seems the more significant.”
— Literary Review