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Glynn, S. (1987). Art and Psyche: By Ellen Handler Spitz. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. 1985. Pp. 188.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 14:564-567.
  

(1987). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 14:564-567

Art and Psyche: By Ellen Handler Spitz. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. 1985. Pp. 188.

Review by:
Stephen Glynn

Dr Spitz defines her aim as 'to make a modest contribution to what has been an ongoing dialogue between psychoanalysis and aesthetics for some seventy-five years' (p. ix). She remarks that, although psychoanalysts have frequently addressed questions of art and aesthetics and that 'philosophers, art historians and literary critics' have rather less frequently seen psychoanalysis as a useful approach to their disciplines, 'there has been no thoroughgoing attempt to catalog or structure this dialogue between aesthetics and psychoanalysis' (p. 1). To remedy this, she addressed both psychoanalysts and critics. To the latter, she proposes 'a tripartite structure for understanding more clearly what different psychoanalytic authors are in fact doing when they approach the aesthetic and how their work mirrors and complements that of other disciplines'; to the former, 'ways of making their goals and methods more explicit and also more consonant with the modes of philosophy and criticism' (p. 1).

Her role is, then, doubly expository, and she writes for two audiences. The first, critics and aestheticians, she addresses as an explicator of, and apologist for, psychoanalytic forays into what they regard as their territory. The second, psychoanalysts interested in aesthetics, she addresses both as an explicator of aesthetics and philosophy and as one who can assist them in formulating their discussions in a manner acceptable to aestheticians and critics. This latter task, she implies, is perhaps the most important, since she regards 'the modes of philosophy and criticism' as 'the ultimate tribunals in affairs of the arts' (p.

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