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168 BOOK REVIEWS evasive but, taken together, bear out the editor's claim that "on no subject have writers shown themselves more lively." —Peter W. Graham Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Robert Kugelmann, The Windows of Soul: Psychological Physiology of the Human Eye and Primary Glaucoma. Studies in Jungian Thought. Lewisburg , Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press, 1983. 258 pp. $24.50. In an essay entitled "Psychology: Monotheistic or Polytheistic," James Hillman, "imaginai psychology's" founding father, remarks playfully that "myth-matching" (the polytheistic rediscovery of the manifold powers of the psyche as represented in mythology) "is only an eye-exercise: we must look for mythic images in order to see imagistically . Once the imagistic mode is in the eye, then the phrase 'as images of Gods' is less literal and instead refers to a theophanic kind of consciousness where psychic reality is omnipresent ..." (my italics ). Robert Kugelmann's The Windows of Soul is just such an "eyeexercise ." It is, moreover, an eye-opener which does more than invigorate our vision: it exercises our wits. And it becomes itself a means for what Kugelmann calls (after Hillman) "soul-making" by undertaking a phenomenological consideration of a bodily defect as the meeting ground of mind and matter. "When we study organ defects," Kugelmann observes, we need to remember that "we are not simply examining a mistake in a tissue. We are dealing instead with an ore rich in psychological life. . . . Correspondingly, the healthy body can be the place of greatest resistance to soul. We fancy ourselves invulnerable when good health prevails. The body's flaws attract soul's fantasies as decaying meat draws flies." Kugelmann discovers this soul in The Windows of Soul, seemingly a specialized study of the particular disease of glaucoma. But the book is much more: a foray into mythic meaning (it exhaustively and fascinatingly explores, by means of what Kugelmann calls "imaginai anatomy" and "etymological reanimation," the whole human eye in the light of Greek myth) and an examination of the methods of both modern psychology and anatomy. "Why is the imaginai character of the body not more obvious? Why does the body encourage the literalization of its organs and function?" Kugelmann asks, seeking out the experience, the soul, buried within what we take to be the mere matter of the body. Book Reviews 169 The answer comes from consideration of the dynamism inherent in bodily life. The body remains material. The metamorphoses of meaning become sedimented, encrusted in the flesh. In its ensoulment the matter of the body is metaphorical, and metaphor becomes matter. In taking on flesh, soul takes on the heaviness, dullness, stupidity, inertia, and concupiscence of the body. Body solidifies the smokiness of soul and because we can grasp body, we forget that it is image. When we discipline this amnesia, we call it physiology and anatomy. These excursions into theoretical and philosophical matters are not digressions, however: they are central to Kugelmann's own approach to his central subject: the freeing of our understanding of glaucoma as a disease affecting not just our bodies but our souls from this amnesia. Moreover, they give to The Windows of Soul a broad appeal. Kugelmann makes us all less forgetful of our psychosomatic reality, more at home in that "Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me" (the book begins by quoting Delmore Schwartz's poem), the bodies that are inseparable from our imaginations. In earlier interdisciplinary and imaginai essays on the psychology of embodiment, Kugelmann, an assistant professor in the University of Dallas's innovative psychology department, had explored the "myth of stress" in light of the poetry and poetics of Gerard Manley Hopkins and celebrated the value of stupidity in the context of an illuminating discussion of Wallace Stevens's "Comedian as the Letter C." The unorthodox method of The Windows of Soul, Kugelmann's first book, should not, therefore, surprise us. Meditative, poetic, ripe with puns that function almost as tropes for the psychosomatic conception of soul which Kugelmann champions ("returning mind to body," he writes in a characteristic passage, "we can keep body in mind"), this erudite but unpretentious "psychological physiology," flying in the face of the received wisdom of modern medical thought, takes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6571
Print ISSN
0278-9671
Pages
pp. 168-169
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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