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Coen, S.J. (1991). His Brother's Keeper: A Psychobiography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: By Stephen M. Weissman, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1989. 349 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 60:513-515.

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(1991). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 60:513-515

His Brother's Keeper: A Psychobiography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: By Stephen M. Weissman, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1989. 349 pp.

Review by:
Stanley J. Coen

Who said psychobiography is dead? Here is Stephen Weissman writing an engaging, novelistic account of the life and creativity of Coleridge. Weissman tells his story well—simply, elegantly, with a minimum of psychoanalytic jargon, using psychoanalytic formulations in a spare but effective manner. The reader easily becomes absorbed in Weissman's personal and convincing rendering. His psychological reading of the interrelations among Coleridge's life, conflicts, and creative work is fascinating. This is a moving but sad tale. I recommend it to psychoanalysts, academicians, and literary critics as an example of fine biography illuminated through psychoanalytic psychology. The criticisms I offer involve matters of taste, bias, and perspective. In no way should they be understood as detracting from Weissman's accomplishment.

Weissman is more concerned with telling his story well than with elaborating a psychoanalytic theory of artistic creativity. Thus the hypotheses he offers can be accepted or rejected, in whole or in part, without detracting from his overall work. In the introduction, he outlines briefly his psychology of artistic creativity as involving issues of loss, separation, sensitivity, and depression, which are managed by creative imagery transformed into permanent works. Creativity

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