Friday, December 29, 2006

Life in the Arts: Thinking About Dreams and Creativity

Stagner (2004) Reviews Dreams and Drama: Psychoanalytic Criticism, Creativity and the Artist, by Alan Roland (see record 2003-02252-000). The author is an artist, an author of plays and librettos, and a practicing psychoanalyst. Two-thirds of his clientele has drawn extensively from the artistic community. He is familiar with diverse elements of the art world, from painting to writing to dance. Likewise, he is fluent with diverse traditions within psychoanalysis from classical theory to ego psychology to the world of self-objects. Different readers will be drawn to different parts of the three sections of this book. The first section draws extensively and lucidly on the author's clinical experiences with career artists. In the next section Roland presents his insights regarding dreams and creativity. From this recasting of the psychoanalytic understanding of dreams, imagery, art, and primary and secondary process, the third section develops a fresh approach to psychoanalytic criticism. The three sections of this book are closely interconnected, but not seamlessly so. The first three chapters will be more immediately relevant to clinicians, especially those whose clients struggle with emerging artistic identities and the process of creation. Later chapters are more immediately relevant to the student or critic of art. Roland is an experienced clinician whose previous work elaborating a cross-cultural understanding of self (examining India and Japan) likewise attempt to examine disparate conceptual traditions. Here he clearly hopes that a broader, more contemporary understanding of the psychoanalysis of artists and art-making will inform a richer and more useful analysis of works of art. It is a subtle and cerebral ambition, presented in surprisingly accessible and lucid language.

Stagner, Brian H (2004). Life in the Arts: Thinking About Dreams and Creativity. PsycCRITIQUES-. Vol 49 (Suppl 14)


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