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Weinshel, E.M. (1970). Some Psychoanalytic Considerations on Moods. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:313-320.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:313-320

Some Psychoanalytic Considerations on Moods

E. M. Weinshel

In the London Times Literary Supplement of 30 March 1967, one of the anonymous review articles dealt with the recently published volume, The Vision of Landscape in Renaissance Italy by A. Richard Turner. Mr Turner is concerned with the relationship of the use of landscape by various Renaissance painters and the mood which is created by their paintings. Mr Turner is obviously intrigued with moods—but he is also quite perplexed by them. He refers to the 'slippery word "mood"'; and the reviewer emphatically agrees that 'the trouble with the slippery word is that it is ambiguous' and he goes on to quote Mr Turner's assertion that 'mood … flees definition like the shadow pursued' (London Times Literary Supplement, 30 March 1967, p. 260).

Notwithstanding the somewhat unscientific flavour of such words as 'slippery', I would have to concur with the substance—and the flavour—of what Mr Turner and the review say about moods. From a psychoanalytic as well as from a literary point of view moods are ambiguous, shadowy—and if you will—even a bit slippery. Yet moods are ubiquitous and universal, part of the virtually daily experience of all human beings and all psychoanalysts. One of the difficulties is that moods are much easier to experience and to perceive than to describe. Affective experiences of any kind are rarely easy to talk about; and even the most articulate, imaginative, self-observant or poetic individual finds himself frustrated in communicating precisely what it is that he feels.

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