In Who Is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream? A Study of Psychic Presences, James Grotstein integrates some of his most important work of recent years in addressing fundamental questions of human psychology and spirituality. He explores two quintessential and interrelated psychoanalytic problems: the nature of the unconscious mind and the meaning and inner structure of human subjectivity. To this end, he teases apart the complex, tangled threads that constitute self-experience, delineating psychic presences and mystifying dualities, subjects with varying perspectives and functions, and objects with different, often phantasmagoric properties.
Whether he is expounding on the Unconscious as a range of dimensions understandable in terms of nonlinear concepts of chaos, complexity, and emergence theory; modifying the psychoanalytic concept of psychic determinism by joining it to the concept of autochthony; comparing Melanie Klein's notion of the archaic Oedipus complex with the ancient Greek myth of the labyrinth and the Minotaur; or examining the relationship between the stories of Oedipus and Christ, Grotstein emerges as an analyst whose clinical sensibility has been profoundly deepened by his scholarly use of mythology, classical thought, and contemporary philosophy. The result is both an important synthesis of major currents of contemporary psychoanalytic thought and a moving exploration of the nature of human suffering and spirituality.
"Who is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream? gives a clear picture of James Grotstein's very particular and individual post-Kleinian clinical and theoretical ideas, which build on the work of Freud and Melanie Klein as developed by Wilfred Bion. Readers will find that, while traversing clinical psychoanalytic terrain, they are also engaging themes that have appeared in philosophy, theology, and poetry since man started studying man. Indeed, Grotstein covers ground similar to that meditated on by medieval mystics; in that sense he is undertaking a theological exploration without invoking a godhead or religious creed, offering something on the order of a 'natural supernaturalism,' to borrow the title of M. H. Abrams's notable study of the romantic movement in literature. The book is very wide ranging, and reflects a great deal of reading in all these subjects. Fortunately readers will also find that it is written in a lively, fluid style that eases their journey and makes it enjoyable as well as challenging, informative, and thought provoking."
- Ronald Britten, FRC Psych.
"James Grotstein is 'The Dreamer' who, in the waking state, can open all the channels of his creativity. In this book, he displays the unique turn of mind that allows him to recognize and convey an essential metaphor embedded in theory after theory-theories that, viewed in combination, explain more than each theory alone. Behind the dazzling mind-play and wit lies a deep sincerity and generosity of spirit. In his search for the numinous, mysterious 'Stranger Within Thee,' he both reaches for the stars and looks within himself and emerges firmly planted on the ground of a deeply introspective, caring clinician."
- Joseph Lichtenberg, M.D., Editor, Psychoanalytic Inquiry
"James Grotstein's new book is one of the marvels of psychoanalytic writing. Saturated with the history of psychoanalytic ideas, Who Is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream? integrates countless views into a compelling vision of life. The book is full of ideas, all of which are connected by the author's passionate and intelligent grasp of theory and practice. It is deeply informative and enchanting at the same time."
- Christopher Bollas, Ph.D.
"[A] compelling work of intricate, unique, and often breathtaking theory. Grotstein's ability to forge bold and unique linkages between disparate fields and traditions, his skill in uniting sophisticated philosophical perspectives with the immediacy of the clinical situation, revitalizes our appreciation of, and indeed our fascination for, even the most conventional, taken-for-granted concepts in psychoanalysis."
- Keith Haartman, Ph.D., Kleinian Studies
Foreword - Thomas H. Ogden
1. The Ineffable Nature of the Dreamer
2. Autochthony (Self-Creation) and Alterity (Co-Creation): Psychic Reality in Counterpoint
3. A Fearful Symmetry and the Calipers of the Infinite Geometer
4. Inner Space: Its Dimensions and Its Coordinates
5. Psychoanalytic Subjects
6. Internal Objects
7. The Myth of the Labyrinth
8. Why Oedipus and Not Christ? - Part I
9. Why Oedipus and Not Christ? - Part II
10. Bion's Transformations in O
The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen A. Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, feminism, queer theory, sociocultural studies and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.
We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Adrienne Harris, Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. Committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts, he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and promoted new voices across the generations. Mitchell was later joined by the late Lewis Aron, also a visionary and influential writer, teacher and leading thinker in relational psychoanalysis.
Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, those that extend and develop that tradition, and works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast them with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts, along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision. Our aim is to enable a deepening of relational thinking while reaching across disciplinary and social boundaries in order to foster an inclusive and international literature.