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Groarke, S. (2016). The Analyst's Ear and the Critic's Eye: Rethinking Psychoanalysis and Literature by Benjamin H. Ogden, Thomas H. Ogden Routledge, Hove and New York, 2013; 478 pp; £23.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(1):212-221.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(1):212-221

The Analyst's Ear and the Critic's Eye: Rethinking Psychoanalysis and Literature by Benjamin H. Ogden, Thomas H. Ogden Routledge, Hove and New York, 2013; 478 pp; £23.99

Review by:
Steven Groarke

What does it mean to read? The Analyst's Ear and the Critic's Eye is a book that is probably best read backwards. Full versions or extended extracts of previously published essays on Kafka, Frost, and Philip Roth are reprinted in the appendices, and I think it helps to start with these essays before turning to the three main chapters. It would be a mistake to take the appended texts as read and, therefore, to ignore the context in which they are being re-read. In a book that is primarily concerned with engaged reading, where the interpellation of the individual as a reader may be seen as the main criterion of the book's achievement, it is important for readers to participate actively in the reading experience. And starting with the appendices allows for a fuller appreciation of the dramatic interplay of contrasting voices, or the ‘third voice’ of poetry, in Eliot's (1953) phrase, that lies at the heart of this book. It allows one to retrace the transformation from the I-voice to the we-voice that underpins the Ogdens’ rethinking of the relationship between psychoanalysis and literature.

The book is worked around the contested shift from singular to plural personal pronouns. And while the poet's “deep ear” (Seamus Heaney, quoted on p. 64) is called on in significant ways to sanction what matters; clinical psychoanalysis makes the running throughout the book. A series of essays written by Thomas Ogden over the last 10 years or so provides the more immediate background to the book. These are remarkable essays by any standards, two characteristically intriguing examples of which form the

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[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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