Marie-Louise von Franz

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Marie-Louise von Franz
Born (1915-01-04)4 January 1915
Munich, German Empire
Died 17 February 1998(1998-02-17) (aged 83)
Küsnacht, Switzerland
Nationality Swiss
Fields Psychology

Marie-Louise von Franz (4 January 1915 – 17 February 1998) was a Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar.

Early life and education[edit]

Von Franz was born in Munich, Germany, the daughter of a colonel in the Austrian army.[1]

After World War I, her family moved to Switzerland, where she met Carl Jung during a school trip. She subsequently did translation work for Jung in order to pay him for her analysis.[1]


Von Franz worked with Carl Jung, whom she met in 1933 and knew until his death in 1961. Jung believed in the unity of the psychic and material worlds, i.e., that they are one and the same, just different manifestations. He also believed that this concept of the unus mundus could be investigated by means of researching archetypes. Due to his advanced age, he turned the problem over to von Franz.[2] Two of her books, Number and Time and Psyche and Matter deal with this research.

Jung encouraged von Franz to live with fellow Jungian analyst Barbara Hannah, who was 23 years older than her. When Hannah asked Jung why he was so keen on putting them together, Jung replied that he wanted von Franz "to see that not all women are such brutes as her mother." Jung also stated that "the real reason you should live together is that your chief interest will be analysis, and analysts should not live alone."[3] The two women became lifelong friends.

In 1968, von Franz was the first to argue that the mathematical structure of DNA is analogous to that of the I Ching. She cited the I Ching in an essay, Symbols of the Unus Mundus, published in her book Psyche and Matter.[4]

In addition to her many books, von Franz made a series of films in 1987 titled The Way of the Dream, along with her student, Fraser Boa.

In The Way of the Dream, she claims to have interpreted over 65,000 dreams, while practising primarily in Küsnacht, Switzerland.

She wrote more than 20 books on analytical psychology, most notably on fairy tales as they relate to archetypal psychology and depth psychology. She amplified the themes and characters of these tales.

She also wrote on subjects such as alchemy (discussed from the Jungian psychological perspective) and active imagination, which may be described as conscious dreaming. In Man and His Symbols, she described active imagination as follows:

Active imagination is a certain way of meditating imaginatively, by which one may deliberately enter into contact with the unconscious and make a conscious connection with psychic phenomena.[5]

In 1948, she was a co-founder of the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich.

Correspondence with Wolfgang Pauli[edit]

Von Franz had a lengthy exchange of letters with Wolfgang Pauli, winner of a Nobel Prize in physics. On Pauli's death, his widow Franca deliberately destroyed all the letters von Franz had sent to her husband, and which he had kept locked inside his writing desk. But the letters sent by Pauli to von Franz were all saved and were later made available to researchers (and published as well).[6]:148

Selected works[edit]

Most of these titles are a translation of the original German title. A few titles were originally published in English.

Additionally, she collaborated with Emma Jung on The Grail Legend (ISBN 0-691-00237-1), which discusses the psychological symbolism of the documented legends of the Holy Grail.

The Fountain of the Love of Wisdom: An Homage to Marie-Louise von Franz is a compilation of eulogies, essays, personal impressions, book reviews, and more from dozens of people who were influenced by von Franz.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kirsch, Thomas B. (2012). The Jungians: A Comparative and Historical Perspective. Routledge. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9781134725519. 
  2. ^ Marie-Louise von Franz Number and Time (Northwestern, 1974) ix.
  3. ^ Dean L. Franz's portrait of Barbara Hannah in Hannah's The Cat, Dog and Horse Lectures (Chiron, 1992), p.18
  4. ^ Marie-Louise von Franz Psyche and Matter (Shambhala, 1992) p.39-62. The reference is cited on page 44; she cites the reference as number 16 of the article: Dialog über den Menschen: Eine Festschrift zum 75. Geburtstag von Wilhelm Bitter (Klett. Stuttgart, 1968).
  5. ^ Carl Jung, Man and his Symbols, p.206-207
  6. ^ Gieser, Suzanne (2005). The innermost kernel : depth psychology and quantum physics : Wolfgang Pauli's dialogue with C.G. Jung. Berlin [u.a.]: Springer. ISBN 9783540208563. 


  • Anthony, M. (1990). The Valkyries: The Women around Jung. Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element. ISBN 1-85230-187-2
  • Hall, James A. and Sharp, Daryl (eds.). Marie-Louise von Franz: The Classic Jungian and The Classic Jungian Tradition. Inner City Books, Toronto, 2008. ISBN 978-1-894574-23-5
  • Jung, Carl G. (1968). Man and His Symbols. New York: Dell Publishing. ISBN 0-440-35183-9.  Von Franz wrote Part 3 of this popular work.

External links[edit]