Sabina Spielrein: The Woman and the Myth by Angela M. SellsSabina Spielrein: The Woman and the Myth by Angela M. Sells

Sabina Spielrein: The Woman and the Myth

byAngela M. Sells

Hardcover | August 1, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$104.21 online 
$117.00 list price save 10%
Earn 521 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Long stigmatized as Carl Jung's hysterical mistress, Sabina Spielrein (1885-1942) was in fact a key figure in the history of psychoanalytic thought. Born into a Russian Jewish family, she was institutionalized at nineteen in Zurich and became Jung's patient. Spielrein went on to earn a doctorate in psychiatry, practiced for over thirty years, and published numerous papers, until her untimely death in the Holocaust. She developed innovative theories of female sexuality, child development, mythic archetypes in the human unconscious, and the death instinct. In Sabina Spielrein, Angela M. Sells examines Spielrein's life and work from a feminist and mytho-poetic perspective. Drawing on newly translated diaries, papers, and correspondence with Jung and Sigmund Freud, Sells challenges the suppression of Spielrein's ideas and shows her to be a significant thinker in her own right.
Angela M. Sells received her PhD in Mythology from the Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Title:Sabina Spielrein: The Woman and the MythFormat:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:August 1, 2017Publisher:State University of New York PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1438465793

ISBN - 13:9781438465791

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 1 out of 5 by from Heavy on undocumented assumptions, assertions and conclusions The above book contains a multitude of undocumented assumptions, assertions and conclusions. The personal relationship between Dr. Jung and Sabina Spielrein has long been debated but to date there is no documented evidence of a sexual relationship between them much less the unproven and irresponsible claims; Persons interested in looking beyond innuendo would be well advised to read for themselves not only the actual correspondence between Dr. Jung and Sabina Spielrein but in the actual history of their relationship as Dr. Patient and as professional colleagues as contained in the following two essays which are available online.: "The real story of Sabina Spielrein: or fantasies vs. facts of a life" by Henry Zvi Lothane, MD "Tender Love and Transference: Unpublished Letters of C.G. Jung and Sabina? Spielrein by Zvi Lothane. [Unerotic Love] Each of the above essays are available for reading online. Happily so are Dr. Jung's Letters to Sabina Spielrein. Some of the quotations from these letters are quite insightful and at variance with assertions made by the author of this book: Sincere thanks on behalf of my wife for the flowers. That was very sweet of you. ~Carl Jung to Sabina Spielrein, Sept. [?] 1910 Your thinking is bold, far-reaching, and philosophical. ~Carl Jung to Sabina Spielrein, August 8, 1911. But never forget that under no circumstances must you retreat from an immediate goal which your heart considers good and reasonable. ~Carl Jung to Sabina Spielrein, Sept. 22 [?], 1911. Your study is extraordinarily intelligent and contains splendid ideas whose priority I am happy to acknowledge as yours. ~Carl Jung to Sabina Spielrein, Dec. 23, 1912 Also available online for the discriminating reader to peruse are: “Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being” by Sabina Spielrein. “About the psychological content of a case schizophrenia (dementia praecox).” from S. Spielrein Unedited extracts from a diary [Sabina Spielrein](1906/1907?) Burghölzli hospital records of Sabina Spielrein Jung to Freud 1905: a report on Sabina Spielrein The motor-car – a symbol of male power by Sabina Spielrein A dream and a vision of shooting stars by Sabina Spielrein Prior to accepting at face value Dr. Jung’s views on women the discriminating reader would do well to consider the following documented statements: A marriage is more likely to succeed if the woman follows her own star and remains conscious of her wholeness than if she constantly concerns herself with her husband’s star and his wholeness. ~ Carl Jung, Conversations with C.G. Jung, Page 51. My experience has impressed the tenacity and toughness of the female nature, which nothing has changed for thousands of years, far too deeply upon me for me to suppose that the right to vote could bring such a wonder to pass. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, 24Jan1959. European philosophy must take into account the existence of feminine psychology. ~Carl Jung to Richard Wilhelm, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 67-68. I have always advised analysts: “Have a father confessor, or a mother confessor!” Women are particularly gifted for playing such a part. They often have excellent intuition and critical insight, and can see what men have up their sleeves, at times see also into men’s anima intrigues. They see aspects that the man does not see. ~Carl Jung, MDR, Page 134. Most men are afraid of something and are full of prejudices—which are not there in the case of most women. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 244-251 Women are much tougher than men underneath. To call women the weaker sex is sheer nonsense. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking, Pages 244-251 At all times there have been wise and shrewd women to whom even clever men have gone for advice. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 477-478 There are countless women who succeed in public life without losing their femininity. On the contrary, they succeeded precisely because of it. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 477-478 I would strongly advise you to do this bit of analysis with a woman, since experience has shown that analysis with a man always has an effect on the animus, which for its part loosens up the personality again, whereas analysis with a woman tends on the contrary to have a “precipitating” effect. C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 190-191 Dr. Jung went on to speak of the strength of womanhood, how it is stronger than any [imitation of the] male adaptation, and how a woman who is woman from the crown of her head to the tip of her toe can afford to be masculine, just as a man who is sure of his masculinity can afford to be tender and patient like a woman …. ~Esther Harding, Conversations with Jung, Page 8. When the woman experiences the mystery of creativeness in herself, in her own inner world, she is doing the right thing and then no longer demands it from the outside — from her husband, her son, or anyone else close to her. . ~Carl Jung, Conversations with C.G. Jung, Page 29. The only woman other than Emma Jung with whom there is any documented evidence of Dr. Jung having an “relationship” with is Toni Wolff of which it is written: I shall always be grateful to Toni for doing for my husband what I or anyone else could not have done at a most critical time.” Emma Jung, Laurens Van Der Post Jung: The Story of our Time; Page 177. Then after a pause, Miss Wolff added this: “You know, sometimes if a man’s wife is big enough to leap over the hurdle of self-pity, she may find that her supposed rival has even helped her marriage! This ‘other woman’ can sometimes help a man live out certain aspects of himself that his wife either can’t fulfill, or else doesn’t especially want to. As a result, some of the wife’s energies are now freed for her own creative interests and development, often with the result that the marriage not only survives, but emerges even stronger than before!” ~Toni Wolff, C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances, Pages 47-51 It might be said of her [Toni Wolff] that she was “Virgin” as defined for us by Esther Harding , meaning simply an unmarried woman who, since she belonged to no man, belonged to herself and to God in a special way.~ Sallie Nichols, ~C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances, Pages 47-51. One would be well served while reading this book to look carefully for footnotes the refer to first hand citations that document the oft erroneous claims of the its author.
Date published: 2017-11-14

Table of Contents

List of Images

1. Sabina Spielrein: A Life and Legacy Explored

2. Trauma, Transference, and Suppression: Sabina Spielrein and the Myth of Echo (and Narcissus)

3. An Affair Misremembered: Sabina Spielrein and the So-Called Love Cure

4. Writing as a Way of Coming into Being (Sabina Spielrein’s Diaries)

5. Sabina Spielrein in Academia: Destruction and Transformation

6. Sabina Spielrein’s Correspondence and Traps of the“Feminine”

7. Sabina Spielrein: Coming into Being


Appendix A: Timeline for Sabina Spielrein as Reflected in Sabina Spielrein: The Woman and the Myth with Select Bibliography
Appendix B: Contributions to the Knowledge of a Child’s Soul
Appendix C: Sabina Spielrein in Image and on the Page
Appendix D: Images of Myths Mentioned

Copyright Acknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

"Written with an insistence and energy that are rare in a book of this kind, the text makes an important contribution to studies of Spielrein; indeed, this is a seminal text in terms of the unflinching and meticulous approach which is taken to refuting a significant body of material that has for some time been engaged in denying full presence to a significant figure in the history of psychoanalysis." - The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory".[an] impressive book . Sells' scholarship is stunningly diverse." - Tablet"This book is a major, perhaps a definitive, contribution to the literature. Angela Sells documents both the demonization of a great psychoanalytic theorist-mainly because she was a woman and worse still, was once Carl Jung's patient. The book's greatest strength is its power to enlighten and inform and in so doing, to arouse indignation and amazement at Spielrein's brilliance and tenacity." - Phyllis Chesler, author of Women and Madness"This is a pathbreaking piece of research that not only begins to rehabilitate the reputation of a woman patient of Jung's, but also suggests that Spielrein was an important contributor in her own right to the beginnings of psychoanalysis." - Carol P. Christ, coauthor of Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology