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Showing posts from December, 2013

Alice Munro's Dear Life - The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Reads one of a Nobel Prize Winner's Books

Alice Munro's Dear Life, purportedly her last book, is the first of her work that I have read.  The prose is as stark and spare as the Canadian landscapes that have shaped the stories she tells.  The first 10 chapters are short stories, her preferred genre, and the last four are memoirs - in short story format.  Entering each story is bewildering.  It is not clear who the main characters are going to be and the stories themselves are told in a casual manner, as if being related to someone who already knows all the backstory necessary to understand the story.  The back story is revealed, but seemingly almost by accident as the arc of a person's life, or a very significant portion of it, is sketched in but a few pages and by referencing relatively few key events that shape that story.

On the surface, there could be nothing less psychoanalytic than these stories.  The richness, the detail, the nuance of the lives of the patients that I see in analysis is lost.  And yet these peo…

The Big Lebowski - The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Revisits a Cult Classic

Movie night is becoming a political phenomenon in the home of the Reluctant Psychoanalyst.  The children, all teenagers, are watching increasingly complex, adult-themed material, though much of it is quite immaturely conceived and executed.  The (sometimes) Reluctant Parents are excited by the increasing ability of the teens to watch "mature" movies so that we can share some of our favorite films with them, while we are simultaneously appalled at the unbridled carnality they seem, at times, to prefer.  So it seemed like the time to try the Big Lebowski, the Coen brothers film, on them.  Once cool and somewhat hip, at least to our generation; what would it evoke in them?

Before I get to that - a little background.  The Big Lebowski is one of those movies that, when we were dating, the future Reluctant Wife could not believe that I had not seen.  I have endured this before.  Patients could not believe I had not seen Gone with the Wind; students could not believe I had not seen …

Shakespeare in Love - The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Ponders Our Attachment to Will Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon

The reluctant son is once again reading Romeo and Juliet.  He read it in sixth grade and really liked it.  I, woefully inadequate parent that I am, delighted by his interest, shared a related drama of mine, Shakespeare in Love.  Oops.  I remembered the explicit sex scenes too late, and what was to have been a nice father son shared adventure turned into a developmentally inappropriate moment to be muddled through.  Muddle through it we did, and now that the reluctant son is in High School, has been bombarded by sex on broadcast and other TV, and is reading Romeo and Juliet again, I thought it worth repeating the experiment.  And the results were much better this time around.

But I was watching the film with another context in mind as well.  I have just finished reading (actually re-reading) and posting about the hypothesis that the plays of Shakespeare are not written by the man from Stratford, a tradesman and sometime actor Will Shakspeare, but instead by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxf…