Psychoanalysis and the Artistic Endeavor : Conversations with literary and visual artists book cover
1st Edition

Psychoanalysis and the Artistic Endeavor
Conversations with literary and visual artists

ISBN 9780415713849
Published January 28, 2015 by Routledge
218 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

USD $52.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Psychoanalysis and the Artistic Endeavor offers an intriguing window onto the creative thinking of several well-known and highly creative individuals.  Internationally renowned writers, painters, choreographers, and others converse with the author about their work and how it has been informed by their life experience.  Creative process frames the discussions, but the topics explored are wide-ranging and the interrelation of the personal and professional development of these artists is what comes to the fore.  The conversations are unique in providing insight not only into the art at hand and into the perspective of each artist on his or her own work, but into the mind from which the work springs. 

The interviews are lively in a way critical writing by its very nature is not, rendering the ideas all that much more accessible.  The transcription of the live interview reveals the kind of reflection censored elsewhere, the interplay of personal experience and creative process that are far more self-consciously shaped in a text written for print.  Neither private conversation nor public lecture, neither crafted response (as to the media) nor freely associative discourse (as in the analytic consulting room), these interviews have elements of all.  The volume guides the reader toward a deeper psychologically oriented understanding of literary and visual art, and it engages the reader in the honest and often-provocative revelations of a number of fascinating artists who pay testimony to their work in a way no one else can.

This is a unique collection of particular interest for psychoanalysts, scholars, and anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the creative process.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Interview with…Edward Albee. Mark Morris. Kiki Smith. Joyce Carol Oates. Adam Gopnik. Jacques d’Amboise. Edmund White. Denis Wedlick. Gary Shteyngart. Oliver Sacks. Andrew Solomon.

View More



Lois Oppenheim is University Distinguished Scholar, Professor of French, and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Montclair State University where she teaches courses in both literature and applied psychoanalysis. She is Scholar Associate Member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and Honorary Member of the William Alanson White Society. She is the author of many books, including Imagination from Fantasy to Delusion (Routledge, 2012)—awarded the 2013 Courage to Dream Prize from the American Psychoanalytic Association—and A Curious Intimacy: Art and Neuro-Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2005).


‘Eavesdropping is fun and instructive. The styles of response to Lois Oppenheim’s questions differ delightfully: some prickliness, some enthusiasm, much we didn’t know. Especially interesting conversations occur with Kiki Smith, Oliver Sacks, Edmund White, and Mark Morris, whose "various flavors of dancing" might well apply here, as well as his "Hooray!".’ - Mary Ann Caws, Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature, Graduate School, CUNY and author of To the Boathouse and Surprised in Translation

Psychoanalysis and the Artistic Endeavor. The creative experience is a bit like driving from point A to point B without conscious awareness, suddenly arriving safely, but then transformed by the experience.  Lois Oppenheim, a scholar of psychoanalysis, converses with eleven well known artists (literature, architecture, dance, and neuroscience) about their craft and takes us on eleven profound and creative journeys.  Not only are we allowed access to their public and private creative processes and work, but also to our own unthought experience.  We are indebted to Dr. Oppenheim for these "conversations," and their transforming impact. - Mark D. Smaller, Ph.D., President, American Psychoanalytic Assocaiton.