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Essman, E. (2014). Field Studies. Fort Da, 20(1):65-77.

(2014). Fort Da, 20(1):65-77

Field Studies

Eric Essman, M.A.

1. The Plurality of Worlds

[F]ield theory strives to strike a balance between…the usefulness for the actors and authors of the psychoanalytic dialogue to lose themselves in the fiction shaped by the setting — which means intimacy, closeness, spontaneity, emotional intensity, authenticity — and the necessity of coming out of all of this in order to access the plurality of the possible worlds in which they simultaneously live.

— G. Civitarese, The Intimate Room

How sweet I roam'd from field to field …

— William Blake, The Complete Poetry and Prose

For Giuseppi Civitarese, clinical space is a dream theater intersecting a plurality of worlds. The idea of possible worlds originated in the philosophy of Leibniz, gained traction in the semantics and ontology of modal logic, and found an uncanny double in “multiverse” interpretations of quantum mechanics. Like the notion of a field, this concept, shared with philosophy and physics, wavers between speculation, metaphor and literal description, situates psychoanalysis as a human science, and embodies the potential of psychoanalytic psychotherapy that treats the clinical encounter as a dream or a narrative to connect local emotional experience with global frameworks of meaning. “Plurality of worlds” thus designates the plurality of semantic and expressive possibilities permeating the dr(e)amaturgic microcosm of the analytic setting.

“Room” in Italian is stanza, and my survey of Civitarese's Intimate Room [L'intima stanza] (2010) detects the ghost of a literary architecture haunting the densely informed edifice of text: that of an extended prose poem in eight cantos or chapters, with each chapter divided into stanze that partition the common topic via multiple vertices or vantage points.

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