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Buckley, P. (1997). Psychoanalysis And Its Romantic Rebellion. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:577-579.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:577-579

Psychoanalysis And Its Romantic Rebellion

Review by:
Peter Buckley

What then does the poet? He considers man and the objects that surround him as acting and reacting upon each other, so as to produce an infinite complexity of pain and pleasure.


Two centuries ago Western culture underwent a revolutionary transformation at the hands of what came to be called the romantic movement. Reacting against classicism and the Enlightenment with its emphasis on rationality, order, and inevitable social progress, romanticism promoted the primacy of subjectivity, unfettered imagination, and emotional spontaneity. In the realm of music, romanticism has been viewed as an art that emphasizes the subjective and emotional possibilities and neglects the formal and structural point of view. William Wordsworth, the standard-bearer of romanticism in English literature, extolled “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” and the wedding of the mind to the outside world, while the art historian Kenneth Clark has seen romanticism as “a rebellion against static authority.”

Of late we have witnessed a revolutionary movement within psychoanalytic theory and practice. Various rubrics have been assigned to aspects of this phenomenon: object relations theory, self psychology, intersubjectivity, and, lately, relational psychoanalysis.

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