1st Edition

Surrealism and Psychoanalysis in Grace Pailthorpe's Life and Work

By Lee Ann Montanaro, Alberto Stefana Copyright 2024
    132 Pages 3 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    132 Pages 3 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book outlines the life and intellectual thought of the English surrealist artist and psychoanalyst, Dr Grace Pailthorpe (1883–1971). It gathers her published and unpublished writings, providing an in-depth study of the importance of Surrealism in her work and legacy.

    Pailthorpe’s theoretical understanding of the psyche informed her approach to art, setting her work apart from other Surrealist artists by unifying artistic, scientific, and therapeutic aims. Pailthorpe considered Surrealism to be a method of investigation into unconscious mental life and believed that it was essential that the repressed part of our minds should find expression. Her theories were influenced by personal and professional experiences such as her work with female offenders, her psychoanalytic training, and her research project with Reuben Mednikoff. By bringing her artistic and theoretical work to light, Montanaro and Stefana reassert Pailthorpe’s significance to the histories of both psychoanalysis and Surrealism, rendering the cross-disciplinary relevance of her work accessible to a contemporary audience.

    This book is a rich resource for scholars and students interested in psychoanalysis and art history and provides an invaluable case study for the continuing significance of visual artistic practices to clinical work.

    1. Early life  2. Reuben Mednikoff 3. The study of female offenders and training in psychoanalysis  4. Further (ethnocultural-oriented) research in Africa  5.The influences of psychoanalysis and psychiatry on Surrealism  6. The relationship between psychoanalysis and art  7. Meeting Reuben Mednikoff and the start of their research project  8.The ‘Birth Trauma’ period  9. The Scientific Aspect of Surrealism  10. The war years (1938–40) 11. The couple’s move to North America  12. Pailthorpe and Mednikoff's return to England  11. Pailthorpe’s final years


    Lee Ann Montanaro, PhD, is a university lecturer and researcher. She specialises in twentieth-century literature and art. Her research interests include Surrealism, psychoanalysis, modernism and comparative literature.

    Alberto Stefana, PsyD, PhD, serves as a psychotherapist for adolescents and adults in conjunction with his role as an academic researcher. He published over 100 articles on clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychiatry in international journals.

    "Grace Pailthorpe was an extraordinary figure, a pioneering female surgeon, psychoanalyst and artist. The Portman Clinic, of which she is the de jure founder, is a unique institution that specialises in studying the roots of violent, sexual and antisocial behaviour. In some ways this parallels Surrealism’s fascination with the irrational, bizarre and unconventional. This second of two excellent new books by Lee Ann Montanaro and Alberto Stefana represent a major re-appraisal of Grace Pailthorpe’s life and her involvement with the surrealist movement."

    Jessica YakeleyDirector of the Portman Clinic, Consultant Psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy; Associate Medical Director, Clinical Governance and Medical Director, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust


    "The multi-faceted, path-breaking career and fearless personality of Grace Pailthorpe are brought to life in this authoritative account of an extraordinary woman, who played a unique role in both the Surrealist movement and the development of psychoanalysis in Britain."

    Elizabeth CowlingProfessor Emeritus (University of Edinburgh).