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American Imago 59.1 (2002) 1-2
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Peter L. Rudnytsky
After two issues with a primary focus on the history and theory of psychoanalysis, I expect that many readers will welcome a literary respite. But since psychoanalysis is a cure by love-whether in Freud's sense of the patient's transferential love for the analyst or in Ferenczi's sense of the analyst's compassionate love for the patient-the theme of this issue remains as much psychoanalytic as it is literary.
I have arranged the four papers in part chronologically and in part according to the severity of the pathologies they dissect. Barbara Schapiro's luminous essay on Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd (1874) is at once the most optimistic in its appreciation of the virtues as well as the dangers of "romantic idealization" and takes up the earliest of the texts in question. Humbert Humbert's pedophilia is surely at least as perverse as the sadomasochistic scenarios of Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes, so I allow chronology to dictate my placement of John Ingham's comprehensive mapping of Nabokov's fascination with artistic as well as sexual primal scenes in Lolita (1955) before Douglas Keesey's trenchant exposition of gender dynamics in Stephen King's Misery (1987), an iconic masterpiece of popular culture. Finally, Brady Brower takes us to the limit one more time by turning from English to French literature and reading George Bataille's surrealistic pornographic classic, The Story of the Eye (1928), with the appropriately sophisticated tools of Lacanian theory as a parable of the plight of postmodernism and of the indissoluble relation between prohibition and desire.
The two reviews in this issue will, I am sure, find a wide audience. Although John Gedo disclaims the comparison, his relationship to Heinz Kohut bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Jung to Freud; and his hard-hitting but always fair-minded assessment of Charles Strozier's biography of Kohut will be required reading for anyone seeking to set the [End Page 1] record straight about self psychology. Finally, like the rest of the psychoanalytic world, we at American Imago are still mourning the death of Stephen Mitchell; and the review by Adrienne Harris and Melanie Suchet pays tribute to this pioneering spirit of the relational movement. Since Barbara Schapiro's essay synthesizes the work of Mitchell and Kohut (as well as Loewald), the reviews bring us full circle; and Schapiro would doubtless agree with Harris and Suchet that not only the destructive extremity but also the redeeming sanity of love stems from its infantile roots and the spellbinding way that "fantasy enchants objectivity."