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Lester, E. (1989). Psychoanalytic Studies of Biography: Edited by George Moraitis and George H. Pollock. Madison: International Universities Press. 1987. Pp. 564.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:362-365.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:362-365

Psychoanalytic Studies of Biography: Edited by George Moraitis and George H. Pollock. Madison: International Universities Press. 1987. Pp. 564.

Review by:
Eva Lester

This book is the outgrowth of the 1982 Conference 'Psychoanalysis and Biography' organized in the context of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Psychoanalysis in Chicago. The central theme of the Conference refers to the biography as a psychological document engaging writer and reader in a creative dialogue. The volume covers the deliberations of the conference as well as other contributions relating to this central theme.

Biography, as James Miller points out, is a literary form with its own justification, a non-fictional novel, as Cynthia Ozick defines it, existing beyond its usefulness as a document which narrates the life, and interprets the work of an individual. Furthermore, biography like history is not a simple compliation of factual data but a creative selection, ordering and highlighting of certain pieces of information chosen as the narrative takes shape. Psychoanalytic insight informs and transforms this process. The argument in this volume is not only how psychological or psychoanalytic competence may enhance the biographical storytelling, but equally validly, how psychoanalytic exploration may explicate the intricate interactions between the biographer and his subject, and ultimately the dialogue between biographer and reader.

The book is divided into three separately focused parts. Part I titled 'Twin Paths to Creativity—The Biographer and his Subject' is centred around Leon Edel's keynote speech at the conference.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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