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Blandpord, N. (1994). The Makings of Maleness: Men, Women and the Flight of Daedalus. By Peter Tatham. Library of Analytical Psychology. Karnac Paperback £17.95. Pp. 280.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 8(3):298-299.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 8(3):298-299

The Makings of Maleness: Men, Women and the Flight of Daedalus. By Peter Tatham. Library of Analytical Psychology. Karnac Paperback £17.95. Pp. 280.

Review by:
Nicola Blandpord

Using the myth of Daedalus, Peter Tatham explores issues of masculinity. Daedalus, craftsman, engineer, inventor, was, it will be remembered, the man who designed the labyrinth for King Minos and was then imprisoned in it with his son Icarus. He escaped by means of wax-and-feather wings, whilst Icarus, flying too high, melted his wings and fell to his death. Tatham argues that we nowadays need to replace the ideal of ‘hero’ with something more solid, craftsman-like, and reliable as a basis for thinking about the masculine principle. It is not just that ‘maleness’ needs to be more aware of its ‘female’ aspect, but that a different understanding of its ‘male’ nature is called for.

Like Daedalus, Tatham assembles many different materials for his creative endeavours: he uses Greek mythology, natural history, etymology, descriptions of the lost was-casting technique, modern management careers advice, Freudian and Jungian analytic theory, and a very few vignettes from patients. Near the end of the book he worries about the problem of working with mythic images:

…they tend to take over. Their attractive power is great… it will appear that the chosen image is the only one to lie behind and beneath all psychic functioning.

Tatham is careful to avoid this danger, but all the same I did find myself tiring of Daedalus and the ramifications of his story, and wishing for something more explicitly clinical.

The book was often fascinating, but I was disappointed.

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