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

Psychoanalysis and the Artistic Endeavor

Conversations with literary and visual artists, 1st Edition

By Lois Oppenheim


206 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415713849
pub: 2015-01-29
SAVE ~$10.99
Hardback: 9780415713832
pub: 2015-02-09
SAVE ~$41.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315743578
pub: 2015-02-11
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


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.


‘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.

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.

About the Author

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).

About the Series

Psychoanalysis in a New Key Book Series

When music is played in a new key, the melody does not change, but the notes that make up the composition do: change in the context of continuity, continuity that perseveres through change. Psychoanalysis in a New Key publishes books that share the aims psychoanalysts have always had, but that approach them differently. The books in the series are not expected to advance any particular theoretical agenda, although to this date most have been written by analysts from the Interpersonal and Relational orientations.

The most important contribution of a psychoanalytic book is the communication of something that nudges the reader’s grasp of clinical theory and practice in an unexpected direction. Psychoanalysis in a New Key creates a deliberate focus on innovative and unsettling clinical thinking. Because that kind of thinking is encouraged by exploration of the sometimes surprising contributions to psychoanalysis of ideas and findings from other fields, Psychoanalysis in a New Key particularly encourages interdisciplinary studies. Books in the series have married psychoanalysis with dissociation, trauma theory, sociology, and criminology. The series is open to the consideration of studies examining the relationship between psychoanalysis and any other field – for instance, biology, literary and art criticism, philosophy, systems theory, anthropology, and political theory.

But innovation also takes place within the boundaries of psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalysis in a New Key therefore also presents work that reformulates thought and practice without leaving the precincts of the field. Books in the series focus, for example, on the significance of personal values in psychoanalytic practice, on the complex interrelationship between the analyst’s clinical work and personal life, on the consequences for the clinical situation when patient and analyst are from different cultures, and on the need for psychoanalysts to accept the degree to which they knowingly satisfy their own wishes during treatment hours, often to the patient’s detriment.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Criticism & Theory
ART / Reference
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Creative Ability