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Balsam, R. (2016). Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Man: Psychoanalysis and Masculinity by Donald Moss Routledge, London, 2012; 150 pp + xxii; $36.85. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(5):1439-1444.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(5):1439-1444

Book and Journal Reviews

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Man: Psychoanalysis and Masculinity by Donald Moss Routledge, London, 2012; 150 pp + xxii; $36.85

Review by:
Rosemary Balsam

Donald Moss MD, the seasoned New York based psychoanalyst, has brought his full attention and his exciting writing voices to the complexity of men and ‘masculinity’. The author of Hating in the first person plural: Psychoanalytic essays on racism, homophobia, misogyny, and terror (2003), known for his deep concern for and writings about troubled modern society's ills, including the abject ethics of the death penalty (in sum, civilization and its discontents), writes philosophically, at times soaringly, and always with rhetorical muscle on parallels between homophobia and misogyny; the evocation of hatred in the culture towards gays and transsexuals; and the evils of a unitary tough ‘masculinity’ that can stand for being ‘a man’. What can that saturated noun ‘masculinity’ possibly mean both socioculturally and in our work as psychoanalysts, he asks. Expectably, there is no answer. Employing his self-interrogatory writing voice, each question the author asks seems to draw the reader further into a maze of complexity and density, evoked by his ‘cascade’ (to use one of his signal words) of ideas, images, contradictions, abstractions and fevered paradoxes. A different writing voice shows up in his clinical work - bringing his patients to life, deftly drawing us into their conflicts in an orderly fashion, exposing their bold fantasies, their prides, their pained longings, their miseries, failures and self hatreds, sharing his interpretations and interventions with their varying impact.

[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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