The Story Behind Inner City Books
A Self-Profile by Daryl Sharp, Publisher and General Editor
(From The Round Table Review, May/June, 1996)
In 1980 I was 44 years old. I had returned to Toronto two years earlier from the Jung Institute in Zurich and I had a thriving practice. I had so much energy I thought I might explode. Theoretically it's possible. E = mc2. If you have no place to put your energy it could build up inside until poof! - a burst of flame and at the speed of light you're toast.
For some time I had been trying to interest publishers in my Diploma thesis on Franz Kafka (The Secret Raven: Conflict and Transformation). I had high hopes. After all, the 100th anniversary of his birth was coming up, and then the 60th anniversary of his death. But there were no takers. I was frustrated. My friends and colleagues Marion Woodman and Fraser Boa, who had trained with me in Zurich, finally said, "Why not do it yourself, you have the tools."
It was true. I had worked for many publishers before going to pieces and becoming an analyst. I knew what was involved in making and marketing a book. Yes, I thought, why not! Only I didn't fancy being a one-shot vanity press, so I decided to invite manuscripts from other analysts. Marion immediately offered her Diploma thesis on obesity and anorexia, The Owl Was a Baker's Daughter.
Then I called Marie-Louise von Franz at her home in Kusnacht, at 9 a.m., just when I knew she'd be coming in from the garden. I reminded her that we had met a few times, told her I was starting a publishing house and was interested in some of her unpublished seminars, which I just happened to have in mimeographed form, namely: Redemption Motifs in Fairy Tales, On Synchronicity and Divination and Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology.
Von Franz was very pleased. What is more, she graciously agreed to be Honorary Patron of Inner City Books. So, I now had a place to put my energy, and other analysts responded. Close on the heels of Woodman and von Franz came Sylvia Brinton Perera (Descent to the Goddess), James A. Hall (Jungian Dream Interpretation), Nathan Schwartz-Salant (Narcissism and Character Transformation) and Edward F. Edinger (The Creation of Consciousness). These early gems and later books by the same authors continue to be the backbone of Inner City Books.
In the beginning I did not expect publishing to be a profitable enterprise. I thought it would have to be subsidized by my practice. As it happened, however, there was a ready and eager market. Sales flourished and readers clamored for more. Never mind the phenomenal success of Marion Woodman's several books. I did not foresee that offers would fall from the sky from publishers in other countries.
Every morning at 8 a.m. I walk down to the post office with my dog Sunny to collect what's in the box. Typologically I think of myself as an introvert. I relate to the world subjectively, in terms of what's going on in me. I am quite happy working alone in a corner. But my extraverted shadow survives on what's in the box.
Inner City Books is currently two and a half people: myself, Senior Editor Victoria Cowan and our indispensable part-time packer Scott Lewis (at night a successful drummer). Everything is contained in my Victorian house in downtown Toronto: my analytic practice on the first floor, Inner City offices on the second, books in the dehumidified basement. We have no plans to expand.
Inner City Books has published authoritative works on many themes - spirituality, women's studies, masculine psychology, relationships and midlife crisis, religion, alchemy and fairy tales - all promoting the understanding and practical application of Jung's work. The only complaint we regularly hear is that we have published books faster than people can read them.
For the next few years we plan to publish only 2 titles a year instead of the previous 4 or 5.
Inner City now has 75 titles by 38
analyst-authors. Some have been better received than others, of
course, but we've sold over a million, and our parameters for
publishing a particular book remain the same: what grabbed the
writer and then finds an echo in me.
Inner City has published authoritative books on many themes-dream interpretation, spirituality, women's studies, masculine psychology, relationships and mid-life, religion, alchemy, mythology, fairy tales and more-all promoting the understanding and practical application of Jung's work. The only complaint we regularly hear is that we have published books faster than people can read them.
By the year 2000 we are anticipating 80 titles in print, for which we are preparing a Cumulative Index. It will be a comprehensive guide to the contents of all Inner City titles: terms and concepts, themes, dream images, archetypal motifs, myths and fairy tales, alchemical terms, authors and works cited, and so on.
The Cumulative Index will be either my swan song or a new plateau from which to take off. In the meantime, I do what is in front of me.
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