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Levine, L. (2017). In the Nutshell: Gestational Experience as Liminal Space: Commentary on Thomas Cohen’s Paper “Considering Gestational Life”. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(5):574-581.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(5):574-581

In the Nutshell: Gestational Experience as Liminal Space: Commentary on Thomas Cohen’s Paper “Considering Gestational Life”

Lauren Levine, Ph.D.

Cohen (this issue) raises intriguing questions about the impact of gestational experience but asks his readers to suspend disbelief, as he posits links between this liminal, mysterious, and on some level “unknowable” of times and later phenomenological and relational experience. Using the novel Nutshell, by Ian McEwan, narrated by a fetus who is privy to the portentous events happening outside, as well as inside, his mother’s womb as a frame, I explore questions including how much we can know about fetal subjectivity, how to differentiate the impact of prenatal from postnatal experience, and how that translates to later developmental and clinical realms.

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