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Feldman, A.B. (1966). Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare. By Norman N. Holland New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965. 413 pp. Psychoanal. Rev., 53B(2):148-153.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Review, 53B(2):148-153

Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare. By Norman N. Holland New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965. 413 pp

Review by:
A. Bronson Feldman

“We have begun a revolution,” Professor Holland abruptly warns at the close of his book (p. 348) “… and we ignore it at our peril.” The confusion manifest in these uses of the first person plural shows in a flash both the ambition and the timorous temper that pulse between all his lines. He claims (p. 77) that his volume was intended to be “a bibliographie raisonnée” covering “all writers and writings on Shakespeare up to 1964” having a psychoanalytic direction or even touching on Freudian themes. But the author is too shy: from the first page he exhibits an aspiration to bigger game than the study of Shakespeare; he has employed the supreme dramatist for a text toward inquiry in the ultimate verities of all drama, literature, and after all, art. Part I, is a survey of the revolution that Freud commenced in the understanding of these mysteries. Part II, reviews the scriptures on Shakespeare by psycho- and pseudo-analysts. The last part is occupied with soaring theory of esthetics based on the towering babel about the Bard of Avon previously outlined. Despite the care in artificially framing the chaos—providing alphabetic order of Shakespeare's works examined, a useful reference appendix, and fine indexes—the upshot is like the body-strewn stage of Hamlet at its close, a bewilderment, but luckily without blood, tears, or much sweat.

Professor Holland opens his own play with a transformation of Freud's painful development of his profane conceptions of the unconscious mental life into “a hierarchy of propositions” (p.

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