Peter Kingsley’s CATAFALQUE (8): Robert Segal’s one-sided review

Robert A. Segal wrote a not so good review of CATAFALQUE, published here on the Times Higher Education website, to which Peter Kingsley replied.

I submitted a comment, which I reproduce below:

I do not think that Robert Segal’s review is « inaccurate and empty », as Kingsley claims. It is critical, and I think it is one-sided, unfair and incomplete.

Peter Kingsley seems to have some trouble with the very fact that it is critical, and so his reply is weaker than it could have been.

However, I think that his book CATAFALQUE itself is weaker than it could have been. We should try to learn from our critics, even when we do not agree with them.So we should at least try to get right what their actual criticisms are.

For example, Peter Kingsley does not react well to what he presents as Segal’s claim that « Kingsley has no arguments ». In fact Segal says « Kingsley never offers arguments for his intuitions about Jung ». This is a very different proposition, and Kingsley’s only reply is a sort of mute gesture at his second volume, composed entirely of footnotes.

This poses the question of the nature and status of these footnotes, many of which serve to give scholarly information ancillary to the main argument.

However, some of these footnotes are manifestly subjective and under-argued value-judgements of Kingsley’s predecessors (Hillman, Edinger, Heidegger, Nietzsche). Sadly his reply fails here.

Segal’s review is flimsy, and what he says about Jung’s RED BOOK is silly, reductive, and uninformed.

Kingsley missed here an opportunity to demonstrate the flaws in Segal’s account, and merely gave vent to an emotional retort that exhibits the same weaknesses that appear in his more emotional, judgemental footnotes.


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