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Meghnagi, D. (2014). Silvano Arieti's Novel The Parnas: A Scene from the Holocaust. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(6):1155-1181.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(6):1155-1181

History of Psychoanalysis

Silvano Arieti's Novel The Parnas: A Scene from the Holocaust

David Meghnagi

(Accepted for publication 10 July 2013)

Silvano Arieti was an Italian psychoanalyst who undertook psychoanalysis of schizophrenic patients in the 1960s and 1970s. He left Italy in 1939 at the age of twenty-four following the Race Laws of 1938, and moved to New York until his death in 1981. A training analyst and author of several psychoanalytic and academic books, Arieti kept his research open in a wide variety of directions, giving equal weight to the internal world - as it seen from the psychoanalytic viewpoint - and to the organic functioning of the brain, as viewed from the perspective of the neurosciences. Arieti's interpretation of schizophrenia helped to overcome the dichotomies between the classical psychoanalytic approach, neurobiological research, and research into cognition, and opened up new paths for an interdisciplinary understanding of mental functioning and creative processes. This paper examines Arieti's book The Parnas (1979); this is a partly-fictionalised account of a pre-eminent figure (Parnas in Hebrew means “head”) in the Jewish community in Pisa, Giuseppe Pardo Roques, in the 1930s and early 1940s, who experienced mental illness and was killed in the Nazi extermination of Jews. The paper examines Arieti's reflections on what he sees as the ‘insights’ provided by mental illness, which are considered through the figure of Giuseppe Pardo Roques, and in the context of the trauma of the Shoah in Italy.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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