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Nass, M.L. (2005). Psychoanalysis and the Arts: Between Couch and Piano: Psychoanalysis, Music, Art and Neuroscience. By Gilbert J. Rose. Hove and New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2004, xxxi +189 pp., $75.00 hardcover, $27.95 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 53(2):679-684.

(2005). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 53(2):679-684

Psychoanalysis and the Arts: Between Couch and Piano: Psychoanalysis, Music, Art and Neuroscience. By Gilbert J. Rose. Hove and New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2004, xxxi +189 pp., $75.00 hardcover, $27.95 paperback.

Review by:
Martin L. Nass

In a work that continues more than forty years of study of the creative process (Rose 1963, 1980, 1987, 1996) Gilbert Rose has written an integrative perspective of his work and has extended his thinking into contemporary neuroscience, as well as furthering his work on aesthetic criticism. He gives us the benefits of his insights in a clear, uncomplicated form. His emphasis on the “music” of communication in psychoanalytic work is enriched through his own early experiences in music as the conveyor of emotion, and he offers the reader a number of personal, anecdotal experiences. This emphasis on the music of communication refers to the form of dialogue and is central to his presentation; from my perspective, it is a basic fact (Nass 1971). The book can be considered a memoir in which a master communicates what he has discovered through many years of creative psychoanalytic endeavor. It is written in an informal conversational style in which complex phenomena are described in simple terms. Yet the writing is rich and contains flashes of a poetic style. Rose brings to bear on his writing a broad knowledge of history, philosophy, and aesthetic criticism, as well as an intimate technical knowledge of visual art and music.

The work is divided into nine chapters, and includes a foreword by the late Jonathan Kramer, a gifted composer and music theorist. In his thoughtful and penetrating piece, Kramer responds to the book from a composer's stance and offers an outstanding commentary on Rose's work.

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