Unlit Corners: Dirtiness, Miserliness, Shyness, Outrageousness, Shallowness, Indecisiveness, Restlessness, and Cowardliness

Editor : Salman Akhtar

Unlit Corners: Dirtiness, Miserliness, Shyness, Outrageousness, Shallowness, Indecisiveness, Restlessness, and Cowardliness

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : June 2024
  • Pages : 222
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 97590
  • ISBN 13 : 9781800132573
  • ISBN 10 : 1800132573

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Unlit Corners endeavours to bring light to neglected character traits which many struggle to overcome. Filled with relevant case studies and carefully crafted psychoanalytic theory, the book elucidates the multilayered nature of such psychopathologies and its treatment. Beginning in the public realm, Nina Savelle-Rocklin explores the complex meaning of ‘dirtiness,’ both literally and figuratively, relating it the body, mind, and language. Ann Smolen’s investigation of miserliness follows, where she emphasizes that it is not about money, but instead arises from the poverty of internal good objects, which are the basic source of generosity. Jerome Blackman examines the nuanced potential meanings of shyness using psychopathology and underlying etiology, while Lois Choi-Kain deftly categorizes outrageousness into three types: a guilt driven masochist, a hope-driven optimist, and a hate-driven sadist, with a subcategory for creative writers and artists

The more private traits start with shallowness. Michael Civin develops ‘shallow’ as a general construct and studies it from a psychoanalytic perspective, arguing that no human being can be described accurately as shallow. The Kayatekins come next with their study of indecisiveness and the role of the ego as a way of understanding this trait. Nilofer Kaul looks at ‘restlessness’ and its associations in psychoanalysis, literature, and culture. The final chapter comes from Salman Akhtar on the subject of cowardliness, where he links it to the lack of self protective devices emanating from breeches in the early mother–child bond and deficient identification with the same-sex parent.

This book is highly recommended to clinicians to give them the tools to not only understand and empathize with their patient’s struggles but also to enhance their capacity to help them overcome such struggles.

Reviews and Endorsements

This original book provides rich discussions of eight clinically common but suboptimally addressed character traits. Each of its essays helps the reader gain better understanding of one such trait, increased empathy for the emotional difficulties underlying it, and improved capacity to deal effectively with it in the clinical situation.
Lena Ehrlich, PsyD, FABP, Faculty Member, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, author of Psychoanalysis from Inside Out: Developing and Sustaining an Analytic Identity and Practice

Despite the interest shown in the topic by Freud and the early analysts, the notion of the “character trait” has been somewhat underrepresented in our literature, making Salman Akhtar’s edited contribution all the more timely. Impressive in its range of approaches and clinical insights, Unlit Corners is crucial reading for clinicians and researchers alike who seek illumination for some of the most ubiquitous and aetiologically obscure facets of human subjectivity.
Tom DeRose, Research Director, Freud Museum London

Dr Akhtar has never been shy of shedding light on unlit corners of our field. Here he has, once again, brought together a group of distinguished contributors to offer a decisive and deep analysis of eight challenging human traits. It is a comprehensive exploration, executed humbly, that both settles and prods our curiosity about these realms.
Gurmeet Kanwal, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York; Faculty Member and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute, New York

Table of Contents

About the Editor and Contributors

1. Dirtiness
Nina Savelle-Rocklin

2. Miserliness
Ann Smolen

3. Shyness
Jerome Blackman

4. Outrageousness
Lois Choi-Kain

5. Shallowness
Michael Civin

6. Indecisiveness
M. Sagman Kayatekin and Z. Emel Kayatekin

7. Restlessness
Nilofer Kaul

8. Cowardliness
Salman Akhtar


About the Editor(s)

Salman Akhtar, MD, was born in India and completed his medical and psychiatric education there. Upon arriving in the USA in 1973, he repeated his psychiatric training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and then obtained psychoanalytic training from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently, he is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Salman Akhtar received the Sigourney Award in 2012.

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