On the Way Home: Conversations Between Writers and Psychoanalysts

Author(s) : Marie Bridge

On the Way Home: Conversations Between Writers and Psychoanalysts

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : March 2008
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 148
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 27201
  • ISBN 13 : 9781855756830
  • ISBN 10 : 1855756838
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Literature was present at the birth of psychoanalysis. When Freud made his momentous discovery of the Oedipus complex within himself and his patients, he recognised that this psychic configuration had already been depicted in Sophocles's tragedy. The father of psychoanalysis wrote "The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious...What I discovered was [only] the scientific method by which the unconscious might be studied".

On the Way Home is a collection of public dialogues which bring together authors whose work similarly provokes recognition and resonance in the minds of readers; analysts with a professional and passionate interest in the unconscious and a wish to learn from writers; and a wide audience of people interested in literature and psychoanalysis.

The dialogues intend to forge links between psychoanalysis and other disciplines, including the physical and the social sciences, history and literature. They are held at the Institute of Psychoanalysis and attract a wide audience.

Reviews and Endorsements

'This is a book of fascinating conversations between writers, mostly novelists, and psychoanalysts. Literature is one route into psychoanalysis (or one might say literature shows a similar interest in inner worlds as psychoanalysis does). Margot Waddell quotes Dryden speaking of poetry - but it might as well be of psychoanalysis - as "that which moves the sleeping images of things towards the light". The book moves images towards the light. It is full of insights made and in the process of being made. The discussants are often thinking on their feet, thinking sometimes of things that they had not thought before. It is a rich book.

To give just one hint at the kind of thing being discussed: Philip Pullman talks about the passage from innocence to maturity, starting with the eviction from the garden of Eden, as a matter of losing grace and gaining wisdom. Loss permeates growth, and has to be faced. But there are gains too. He and his psychoanalyst interlocutor speak about eros or energy as opposed to deadliness or indifference. They discuss Pullman's ways of enriching his characters and making his story more dynamic by means of daemons - a sort of cross between conscience and angels; and many other things.'
- Michael Brearley, President-Elect of the British Psychoanalytical Society

'This book is a privilege to read. We are invited through the dialogue between four authors and their four psychoanalytic interlocutors into the workshop of the writers' minds and into their subsequent reflections on their own work. One, Brenda Maddox, is a brilliant biographer, and the three justly acclaimed novelists are Rose Tremain, Antonia Byatt and Philip Pullman. They are all seekers after psychic truth whether through fact or fiction. Like psychoanalysts they are concerned with whether something is truly believed, not simply whether what is believed is true. In these matters good intentions and generalisation is not enough; abstract discussions on creativity tend to be vapid; in both professions the devil is in the detail. In these dialogues the various writers' methods and approach are opened to us at the level of the ideas in the mind and the ink on the page. They are immersed in their work and we become immersed in the discussion of it. Anyone interested in the psychology of creative writers or the creativity of psychological writing will find this book irresistible.'
- Ronald Britton (Past President of the British Psychoanalytical Society)

About the Author(s)

Marie Bridge read modern languages at Oxford. She trained first as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and later as a psychoanalyst. In 2004 she left London and is now in full-time private practice in East Anglia. She is a Training Analyst at the Institute of Psychoanalysis and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex.

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