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Giannakoulas, A. (2004). Mirror to nature: Drama, psychoanalysis and society By Margaret Rustin and Michael Rustin London: Karnac Books. 2002. 289 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(2):549-557.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(2):549-557

Mirror to nature: Drama, psychoanalysis and society By Margaret Rustin and Michael Rustin London: Karnac Books. 2002. 289 pp.

Review by:
Andreas Giannakoulas

The first in a new series from the publisher Karnac, this book by Margaret and Michael Rustin is the result of the authors' long experience of their passion and enjoyment of the theatre being put to the service of many years teaching in the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The Rustins start from the consideration that drama (both in its ancient and in its modern version) and psychoanalysis share the same passion for truth. A difference, however, exists: drama arrives at its truths by imaginatively constructing a fictitious world; psychoanalysis (like sociology) works by describing, categorising and clarifying the connections between phenomena.

This difference in method does not alter the essence of the change that drama and psychoanalysis work in their participators' inner worlds. ‘Catharsis’, the movement of the emotional transformations that drama arouses in the spectator, is very close to the ‘learning from experience’ of analytic work, as theorised by Bion. Special emphasis is given to the concept developed by the literary critic Raymond Williams: ‘structures of feeling’. This concept describes the tension between received ways of thinking and representation and actions and emergent aspirations that are not properly understood by the subject. According to the authors, the ‘structures of the mind’ connote the type of compromise between thought and emotion that every single writer creatively establishes within his work.

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