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Schwartz, M.M. (2018). Psychoanalysis in My Life: An Intellectual Memoir. Am. Imago, 75(2):125-152.

(2018). American Imago, 75(2):125-152

Psychoanalysis in My Life: An Intellectual Memoir

Murray M. Schwartz

But I, entelechy, form of forms, am I by memory because under ever-changing forms.

—James Joyce, Ulysses

Two distincts, division none.

—Shakespeare, “The Phoenix and the Turtle”

Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.

—Hamlet, III.ii.194

My “intellectual autobiography” can be imagined as two sets of three overlapping circles. The first set of circles consists of activities: teaching, academic administration, and writing. The second set consists of three intellectual preoccupations: psychoanalysis, literature, especially Shakespeare, and the Holocaust. Each set is implicated in the other, and all six circles are in motion, their interplay and interaction varying from time to time and place to place, more like Ptolemy than Copernicus.

This abstract scheme is my guide to memory. I hope that the meanings of the circles will become clearer as I tell my story.

I Beginnings

In 1942, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I was born into a working-class Sephardic Jewish family. I have a visceral memory of the resounding percussions of the 16” battleship guns practicing in New York harbor during the Second World War. Less than two years later, my father, a skilled carpenter and welder during the Depression, enlisted in the Navy.

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