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White, P. (1997). The Clarke and Its Founders: The Thirtieth Anniversary. A Retrospective Look at the Impossible Dream: Douglas H. Frayn, Toronto The Clarke Monograph Series No. 6, 1996, 181 pp. Can$20.00 (paper). Canadian J. Psychoanal., 5(2):327-331.
(1997). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 5(2):327-331
The Clarke and Its Founders: The Thirtieth Anniversary. A Retrospective Look at the Impossible Dream: Douglas H. Frayn, Toronto The Clarke Monograph Series No. 6, 1996, 181 pp. Can$20.00 (paper)
Review by: Patricia White
Those who enjoy reading recollections about personalities and institutions, especially those close to their own professional life, will find this retrospective curiously compelling. With disarming candour the author tells us that the idea for an anniversary publication had its beginning during a Clarke dinner conversation. Someone should write the early history of the Clarke, “now, while many of the founders are still (ostensibly) alive,” as the author puts it. Later, Paul Garfinkel, current CEO, encouraged Frayn to undertake the project
Frayn has been with the Clarke since 1967, the year after it opened He has worked with every chairman and director, and has been amazed at “how totally different they have been from each other.” It is from this perspective on personalities that he undertakes to show evolution and change over the 30 years. This is not to be a formal history of the institution, he tells us, nor will it strive to be even-handed, fair, or even accurate. It will be, quite literally, “a transcript of a number of older psychiatrists' retrospective thoughts about their earlier years.”
This intention to step back, as it were, from the subject matter of the book by taping and transcribing interviews is realized only in part How one chooses to present material is itself comment, as witness the subtitle On the one hand, “Impossible Dream” suggests idealistic hopes that cannot be realized. On the other, it sets the Clarke on a parallel with Freud's characterization of psychoanalysis as the “impossible profession.
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