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350 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 countless articles, and is much in demand as a public lecturer. As of 1997, he had discovered or co-discovered twenty-one comets- the most famous of which was Shoemaker-Levy g, which collided with Jupiter in 1994ยท He is undoubtedly one of the best-known astronomers - amateur or professional - in the world. The introduction to this book is the author's convocation address at Acadia University on 8 May 1995, when he received an honorary doctorate. Then there are a few pages of excellent colour photographs which should be appreciated for their own sake, since they are not keyed to the text. The heart of the book is six chapters of astronomy and poetry,linked to various themes. The final chapter recounts, in a similar poetic vein, the story of the discovery of Shoemaker-Levy 9, and its dramatic fate. There are several pages of endnotes, and a good index. As one who has known and appreciated David Levy for many years, I found this an appealing synthesis of his astronomical and literary interests. It is written in the same elegant and deep-felt language which makes his other writings and public lectures so distinctive. Perhaps there is someone else who could write such a book, but I am not sure who. It touches on nearly a hundred works of literature- poetry, prose, and drama- mostly classical and romantic, from Shakespeare to John Denver. Robert Frost receives many mentions, and entire chapters revolve around Gerard Manley Hopkins, Alfred Tennyson, and Henry Thoreau -writers who appreciated the sky, and its messages for humankind. There is a special emphasis on those who have written on comets (no surprise!)- the topic with by far the longest list of references in the index. I am not a professional or amateur poet, or literary critic. I am, however, deeply involved in astronomy education and culture at all levels. I know and appreciate that astronomy is the ultimate interdisciplinary subject, tying together the sciences and the arts in a unique and remarkable way. The sky is the window of the universe, available for all (including poets) to see. David Levy's book will appeal to all those who appreciate the beauty and the mystery of the night sky. (JOHN R. PERCY) Edward Shorter. A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of tlte Asylum to the Age of Prozac John Wiley. vii, 436. $42.50 Shorter's impressively detailed accolUlt of the rise of psychiatry from the eighteenth century to the present begins with the premise that psychiatric practices and institutions originated with the humane intentions of its founders. With this premise Shorter dismisses the 'great confinement' thesis of Michel Foucault, for whom the creation of mental asylums and definitions of madness functioned more as mechanisms ofsocial regulation and control than as sincere efforts to minister to the sick. Shorter's intention HUMANITIES 351 is to demarcate neuroscientific accounts of psychiatry from psychosocial critiques, placing the discipline squarely in the field of empirical medical science, where he thinks it belongs. There is no doubt in his mind that mental illness must be viewed within a 1Jiological paradigm' that approaches it strictly within terms of brain disorders. This premise in tum is unforhmately based on an unconcealed hostility to the entire field of psychoanalysis that both infuses the book and constitutes its major weakness. Shorter's historical approach is underminedby his attack on psychoanalysis because it unfolds through assertion rather than argument. Moreover, many of the negative statements Shorter makes about psychoanalysis are disturbing not only by virtue of their sweeping and generalized character but alsobecause ofhis view that psychoanalysis is primarily a middle-class, Jewish1 and female preoccupation that in the twentieth century culminates in a 'symbol of collective affirmation' of a people devastated by the Holocaust. According to Shorter, the shock of 'recently' middle-class Jews ripped from their 'comfortable and bourgeois European existence' by the Nazis is what led to their desire for self-affirmation specifically through psychoanalysis, although he never explains how this happened. Shorter's reduction of psychoanalysis to a Jewish invention and preoccupation not only is useless as a method of discrediting psychoanalysis but also leaves...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 350-352
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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