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Knoblauch, S.H. (2015). Freud's Lost Chord: Discovering Jazz in the Resonant Psyche by Daniel Sapen Karnac, London, 2012; 240 pp; £25.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(6):1698-1702.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(6):1698-1702

Freud's Lost Chord: Discovering Jazz in the Resonant Psyche by Daniel Sapen Karnac, London, 2012; 240 pp; £25.99

Review by:
Steven H. Knoblauch

The attempt in this book to address the limits of description with descriptive words and images of experience occurring on embodied, and particularly auditory registers is in itself paradoxical. And yet Sapen's efforts have been endorsed and recognized as a valuable contribution toward an understanding of this enigmatic dimension of interaction, particularly as it occurs in psychoanalytic practice.

My first reaction to an invitation to review this book was dominated by the excitement that someone else was seeking to illuminate what might be learned for the practice of psychoanalysis from the practice of jazz improvisation. And I have been particularly interested in the differences between our approaches to this subject. Sapen initiates his treatise with no fewer than 114 pages of discussion as a prelude to his next 102 pages which contain the heart of his thinking about the resonances between jazz improvisation and psychoanalytic practice. These first 114 pages are critical to his approach. For, unlike my approach, Sapen begins with the problem of the absence of attention to tone and rhythm, the absence of attention to prosody and syncopation in the productions from an analysand and interactions between analysand and analyst, absence in the Freudian model of mind and treatment practices building on such a tone- and-rhythm-deaf model.

I do not think Sapen is too hard on Freud, and I think most contemporary readers would agree with the expansion of Freud's vision from pleasure seeking to self organization as basic to desire viewed in the various ways that Sapen reviews as coming from Winnicott, Bion and Loewald and, interestingly, also Jung, forming the theoretical context for the significance and centrality of aural experience to subjectivity. (It is interesting that Sapen continually offers as a subtext to his treatise that not only was sound lost in the Freudian vision, but also the importance of Jung's articulation of the place of the archetypal experience in the formation of subjectivity. This becomes an important point underlying his major assumptions.)

Sapen tracks an unfolding awareness in psychoanalysis from structure to process. He asks us to replace the concept of boundaries with the concept of thresholds.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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