This Book Explores How Carl Jung Ripped Off Toni Wolff’s Ideas

by Katherine L. McDaniel

Dr. Nan Savage Healy’s book Toni Wolff & C. G. Jung: A Collaboration explores how analyst Toni Wolff’s ideas and work were basically stolen by Carl Jung, who appropriated Toni’s insights and theories and gave her no credit.  In 1910, Toni was a young student from a wealthy Zurich family when she met Jung, who was married and middle-aged. As she worked with Jung, among other things, Wolff developed and elaborated on fundamental archetypal roles for women, especially the maternal (mother) and hetaira (courtesan), both defined by their relationship to men.

On the personal side, Jung convinced Wolff to live less of a life so he could live more of a life, persuading Emma Jung (his wife) and Wolff (his mistress and intellectual partner) to remain with him, even though neither of them was happy with the arrangement.  After Wolff, Jung got into alchemy with yet another woman. He clearly could not tell good ideas from bad and reveled in the personality cult that gathered at his Institute, more of a salesman than a great thinker.

bookcover 77569

Why do women participate in this? Why do women give themselves up for the sake of “love”? It’s hard to read this book without jumping up every few pages, hopping mad about some new thing Jung did to glorify himself at Wolff’s expense. This was not a “Collaboration” — it was a “Theft.” This book attests to the fact that the world will always be a difficult place for women so long as they continue to define themselves in relation to men and continue to prop them up. It is carefully researched and documented, containing information from personal letters and many photos from family archives.

Full disclosure — the author is an old college friend, but there are a number of reviews on Amazon from far more qualified reviewers who rave about its first rate scholarship and compelling story. And let’s hope that the author’s intent is realized, that Toni gets her due and does not disappear into the dust of history. 

top photo: Toni Wolff, c. 1920s

Published February 15, 2018

I regret to inform the BUST community that Dr. Nan Savage Healy died on July 9, 2018 at the age of 68. For the last seven years, she had been battling ovarian cancer. Nonetheless, she got a PhD late in life and wrote the definitive book on Toni Wolff. When she was 22, Nan discovered Toni and waited for someone to write a book, and when no one did, Nan travelled to Europe, completed her extensive research, and wrote the book so Toni would not be forgotten. Nan leaves her children, Wil Savage and Kathryn Savage.


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