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A Library Guide to Jung's Collected Works

Explore Jungian psychology resources available from the Pacifica Graduate Library

The Black Books and related publications

Bishop, P. (2022). Le rouge et le noir: The Genesis and Significance of Analytical Psychology in the Black Books. International Journal of Jungian Studies, 14(2), 147–181.

"This paper explores the genesis and significance of Jung's recently-published Black Books. It considers the nature of the inspiration behind them, and it suggests that the Black Books reveal the textual nature of Jung's experience of the process of 'ordering' in several different ways. The paper examines the minor and more significant changes between the version of the text found in the Black Books and the Red Book, and it considers whether it is helpful to think of the Black Books in the categories of 'science', 'nature', or 'art'. It is argued that one of the key insights into the creative process behind the Black Books can be gained from examining their textual status (reflected, for example, in Jung's handwriting), which gives a sense of the linguistic, stylistic, conceptual, and emotional struggle out of which they emerged. Finally, the paper discusses Jung's encounter with the Dionysos-like figure of Wotan, which is linked with Jung's memory of an 'unforgettable night in the desert' when he 'saw the Χ for the first time' and 'understood the Platonic myth' (BB7, p. 227), and it explores Jung's longstanding interest in interpreting the myth of the creation in Plato's Timaeus". [Read more]

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Bright, G. (2021). Jung, C.G. The Black Books 1913‐1932: Notebooks of Transformation. Ed. S.Shamdasani, trans. M. Liebscher, J. Peck & S. Shamdasani. Philemon Series. Norton. 2020. 7 volumes. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 66(3), 763–774.
‘I have told you a very great deal, but do not assume that I have told you all!’

"So Jung ended his fourth lecture to the 1925 Seminar on Analytical Psychology (2012), the only published instance of his explicit public presentation of Red Book (2009) material. Jung’s Black Books, now published for the first time, comprise the six notebooks in which he made the contemporaneous record of his visionary experiences and active imaginations between 1913 and 1932. Much of the material in Black Books 2-6 is familiar as ‘Layer One’ of Liber Novus. The latter half of Black Book 6 and Book 7 contain active imaginations from mid-1916 to 1932 in which Jung’s dialogue with his soul continues, some familiar interlocutors return and new figures are introduced. With the entry of this material into the public arena we are much closer to having been told ‘all’ than were the 33 participants in what was effectively a CPD event for English-speaking analysts given by Jung in Zürich in 1925." [Read more]


Pinilla Pineda, M. (2022). Creating our own Black Books: Keeping a journal as a loom of life. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 67(1), 234–246.

"Jung’s The Black Books are annotations of his inner world after his process of self‐experimentation, which he called his ‘confrontation with the unconscious’. They preceded The Red Book in which, as a scribe, he reworked his initial notes and drawings. This was the raw material for the work that Jung developed over the rest of his life. From his experimentation, he formulated the method of active imagination and the concept of the transcendent function, a psychological function that creates symbols and integrates the unconscious contents in consciousness. Jung invites us, with his experience, to write and paint our own Black Books and to explore our inner images. With this proposal to keep a journal as a loom of life, we welcome his invitation, which allows us to weave and integrate the visible and invisible substances of our lives. Our intention for the journalling is to provide a space for the unfolding of the individuation process. In Jung’s invitation we see that a life that does not confront itself cannot be realized as such." [Read more]

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Sarafidou, K. (2022). The Black Books 1913—1932: Notebooks of Transformation. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 38(1), 176–178.

"The publication of Jung's Black Books in October 2020 was a unique milestone in the history of analytical psychology. The Black Books provide the source material of Jung's Red Book (also known as Liber Novus, itself only published in 2009), and are the foundation of all subsequent concepts, techniques, and theoretical formulations of analytical psychology. They consist of seven diary notebooks where, in 981 pages, Jung records a series of active imaginations and visionary events that he experienced across 19 years, from November 1913 to December 1932. These experiences reflect his personal transformation which began with a conscious decision to depart from the hard scientific aims of psychiatry to which he had committed up to that point, and an immersion into a new, non-measurable and non-rational world, the world of soul." [Read more]

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