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Rosenfeld, E.M. (1963). Painting and the Inner World: By Adrian Stokes. Including a dialogue with Donald Meltzer. (London: Tavistock, 1963. Pp. 85. 18 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:380-382.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:380-382

Painting and the Inner World: By Adrian Stokes. Including a dialogue with Donald Meltzer. (London: Tavistock, 1963. Pp. 85. 18 s.)

Review by:
Eva M. Rosenfeld

Adrian Stokes's latest book presents us with the same task that his previous ones did: he not only writes as a painter, he writes like a painter, that is to say like a painter paints. Thick blobs of word and thought have to be viewed and assimilated in fast procession; concepts and ideas take visual shape before our eyes. The depth and intensity of the writer's inner experience demand, however, slow translation into thought, in order to get the full impact of the author's intentions. One often wishes to exclaim, 'Make us a picture book of what you think—language is too slow, it has its inherent laws of time. What you demand of us underlies the experience of seeing pictures and not of reading words!'

Painting and the Inner World consists of three sections; each one could stand by itself. 'Chaos' and 'stabilization' are the author's expressions for what Freudians would approximately subsume first under the widest concept of the dynamic pleasure-pain principle. Of course, Stokes is justified in using two more passionate words instead of Freud's reasoned and sober ones, since he speaks of the artist who in every generation represents the most luscious flower which its culture has produced.

When Stokes joins his ideas with our cumber-some psycho-analytic concepts, that is the moment which requires from both of us some hard and critical thinking. That one paints one's inner world is almost common knowledge. Freud described this inner world more as a museum than a dramatic stage which shifts continuously; the latter being an idea which Klein has developed to the great benefit of psycho-analysis.

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