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Bergmann, M.S. (1992). The Apprehension of Beauty: The Role of Aesthetic Conflict in Development, Art and Violence: By Donald Meltzer and Meg Harris Williams. Strath Tay, Scotland: Clunie Press, 1988, 240 pp., $15.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:885-888.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:885-888

The Apprehension of Beauty: The Role of Aesthetic Conflict in Development, Art and Violence: By Donald Meltzer and Meg Harris Williams. Strath Tay, Scotland: Clunie Press, 1988, 240 pp., $15.00.

Review by:
Martin S. Bergmann

This is a highly unorthodox book to be reviewed by this journal. The basic idea is simple as it is striking. We encounter beauty as newborns when we first open our eyes and gaze on mother's face and body. For many, this sight is overwhelming, invasive, and evokes powerful impulses to surrender. To protect ourselves we can close our eyes, but the genitals remain in a state of excitation. It is this experience that is at the root of our hopefulness and capacity for future passion and love. However, it is not only the basic idea that is new and strange, but also the matrix in which it is embedded.

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