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Editor Peter L. Rudnytsky has put together a very useful and (for the most part) readable collection of 16 essays for students of literature, psychotherapy, theology, or the intersection of all those disciplines. As a former student of English literature, a current preacher, and a doctoral candidate in psychology and religion interested in the therapeutic uses of popular culture, I have found this volume extremely helpful. Rudnytsky's Introduction begins by noting that Winnicott has been largely overlooked by literary scholars -- a neglect which is "all the more surprising since Independent object relations theory can claim to offer the first satisfactory psychoanalytic account of aesthetics." (p. xii) He then proceeds to provide a definition of that "aesthetics" utilizing three of Winnicott's best-known concepts: transitional objects, potential spaces, and the use of an object. Since the editor goes on to describe the particular contributions of each of the essays which follow (not all of which are as readily accessible as Winnicott's own writing), a careful reading of this Introduction will be amply rewarded. The first section, "The Analytic Frame", begins with Winnicott's own reflections on "The Location of Cultural Experience" (from PLAYING & REALITY) and includes a particularly useful (to my areas of interest) essay by Christopher Bollas on "The Aesthetic Moment and the Search for Transformation." Part II, "Literary Objects", focuses on six interpretations of particular authors or works, and Part III concludes with four essays applying Winnicott to various "Cultural Fields" (including Brooke Hopkins' "Jesus and Object-Use").Read more ›
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