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Simon, N. (1977). Primal Scene, Primary Objects and Nature Morte: A Psychoanalytic Study of Mark Gertler. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 4:61-70.

(1977). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 4:61-70

Primal Scene, Primary Objects and Nature Morte: A Psychoanalytic Study of Mark Gertler

Nancy Simon

For several years I have been an avid reader of biographies and autobiographies of members of the Bloomsbury Group and its peripheral members. Some years ago a volume called Carrington, Letters and Extracts from her Diaries(Carrington, 1971) was published. The letters and diaries are interesting to read as fascinating subjects in their own right and also as documents of their time. Most of the famous names of London's artistic and literary society are included on the pages. Dora Carrington emerges as a remarkable woman and a credible artist. She maintained a certain fascination for those who knew her. Her letters and paintings reveal a creativity that was submerged towards the end of her life, especially after she became absorbed in her caretaking duties as Lytton Strachey's housekeeper.

The correspondence of her late teens and early twenties revealed a deeply touching, passionate and tortured love affair with a fellow art student, Mark Gertler. Her letters and those of his to her have been preserved in their entirety. Their love affair was the subject of two contemporaneous novels. Both Chrome Yellow, by Aldous Huxley (1921) and Mendel, by Gilbert Cannan (1916) have Carrington and Gertler for their characters, the latter more prominently. Mark Gertler began to emerge as an interesting person in his own right. His vitality, earnestness, talent, and position in the complicated interchanges of the artistic and literary world of which he was a part began to absorb my attention.

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