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Blumberg, P. Hirsch, I. (2008). Introduction. Contemp. Psychoanal., 44(2):266-267.

(2008). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44(2):266-267

Symposium on Psychoanalysis and the Study of Art, Culture, and Media


Phillip Blumberg, Ph.D. and Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS THE FIRST of an occasional section of Contem- W porary Psychoanalysis that will explore the relationship between psychoanalysis and art, culture, and media. We hope that these contributions will inspire artists and intellectuals to consider the relevance of psychoanalysis to their lives, work, and ideals. We also hope to facilitate psychoanalysts' commentary on significant issues in contemporary art and culture. Recognizing that the writing of even sophisticated nonanalysts about psychoanalytic matters has sometimes been naive and fraught with stereotypes and that psychoanalysts' commentary on matters not directly clinical can be facile and overly intellectualized, we hope to minimize these shortcomings.

For this first Symposium on Psychoanalysis and the Study of Art, Culture, and Media, we asked four intellectuals and literary artists—Robert Boyers, Daniel Hayes, Francis Levy, and Rick Moody—to remark on the relationship of psychoanalytic theory and practice to their own creative work. All these contributors have published significant novels, short stories, and essays, and each has been passionately engaged with many of the thorniest cultural and aesthetic controversies of our time. We sent each of the participants the following request:

Exploring the creative processes of artists has been a preoccupation of many psychoanalysts. Perhaps in their enthusiasm to share their discoveries, those psychoanalysts have sacrificed some of their ability to remain open and continue learning from those involved in creative activities. We would like to inaugurate this new section of Contemp. Psychoanal. by asking practitioners in the arts what they have found useful— and not so useful—in their encounter with psychoanalytic concepts. Some may have had an experiential relationship with psychoanalysis, others an intellectual exposure. However, as Auden wrote, Freud's project is now part of “a whole climate of opinion,” and many persons involved in the understanding of our culture have passionate feelings about the impact of the psychoanalytic enterprise.

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