- Series: Inner Lives
- Hardcover: 184 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 8, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780199747603
- ISBN-13: 978-0199747603
- ASIN: 0199747601
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.8 x 5.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lucy in the Mind of Lennon (Inner Lives) 1st Edition
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"In this unique analysis, Tim Kasser puts a famous and enigmatic Beatles song under the psychological microscope. Bringing methods to bear from linguistics, cognitive science, music theory, and the study of attachment, Kasser probes deeply into the life and the soul of John Lennon. His little book shines as bright as a diamond in the (strawberry) field of psychological biography."
-- Dan P. McAdams, Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Psychology and Director of the Foley Center for the Study of Lives, Northwestern University, and author of George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream
"Tim Kasser's in-depth study of 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' brings a fresh and thought-provoking approach to a well-known and oft-discussed Beatles song. While most scholars and critics have come at this song from the point of view of musical analysis or biography (or both), Kasser's readings rely principally on methods drawn from the field of psychology. The interpretations in Lucy in the Mind of Lennon open up new ways to think about meaning in popular music."
-- John Covach, Professor of Music, University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music
"This is an outstanding work, a wonderfully rich and synthetic portrait. Tim Kasser artfully employs some of the latest scientific methods for studying individual lives to illuminate the complex meanings behind Lennon's song Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and its place in Lennon's life history. He has an engaging, conversational style of writing that draws the reader in, so that we're traveling partners sharing a fascinating journey of exploration into Lennon's inner world."
-- Amy Demorest, Professor of Psychology, Amherst College
"This is an excellent psychobiography that employs several rarely used techniques in the research, such as the chapters analyzing musical melodies of various John Lennon songs in order to draw personality-based conclusions. This book will have wide appeal for its treatment of topics on religion, substance abuse, and creativity. The book's strengths are in its singular focus on the meaning behind one song Lennon wrote ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds") at a critical psychological juncture in his life, as it offers Kasser an achievable yet ambitious framework in which to perform his inquiry."
-- Joseph M. Kramp, Religious Studies Review
"In this effort to decipher Lennon's creation, [Kasser] works hard and researches deeply, bringing in Freud, dream analysis, B. F. Skinner, Dr. James Pennebaker and his computer analysis Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, and Script Analysis among other methodology. Kasser has done yeoman work in this short book, and it will be of interest to Beatle and Lennon fanatics and of course to teachers and other scholars who might want to use it as a classroom tool or reference." --Gary Presley, The Internet Review of Books
"In his new book, Tim Kasser, a social-personality psychologist with decidedly clinical interests, relies on a variety of intriguing techniques to explore an unusual case: the late John Lennon's intentions when he wrote 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.' Attempts at 'psychobiography' are by no means new [...] but trying to understand a creative work like the origins of this familiar, if enigmatic, rock song, is novel." --Dana S. Dunn, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
About the Author
Tim Kasser is Professor of Psychology at Knox College. His publications include The High Price of Materialism (MIT Press, 2002) and many scientific articles and book chapters. Tim enjoys playing the piano (including blues and Beatles' songs), interpreting dreams, and spending time with his family at their home in the western Illinois countryside.
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The key event, of course, is the traumatic death of John's mother Julia when he was a young teen. As any Beatles fan knows, both the pain of that loss & the yearning for her comforting presence in her unchangeable absence informs many of John's songs. Kasser delves into attachment theory, repression of personal pain, and the ways in which that pain insists on making itself felt anyway. In John's case, it was both in his personality (more often negatively) & in his creative work, which could express & artistically transmute that pain in a socially acceptable way for John.
My only caveat? I think Kasser tends to be a bit more reductive in his analysis than I'd prefer -- and this is simply my own personality speaking, nothing more than that! Several noted psychoanalytical names appear in the index, including that of Freud; and all of them deservedly so for Kasser's approach. The missing name is that of Jung -- it seems to me that an examination of Anima images in John's songs would have added yet another dimension to this otherwise smart, engaging book. But again, that's just me. This is a fine book in its own write (ahem) & well worth reading for a thoughtful look at the unconscious sources of creativity -- not just for Beatles fans, either!