Art, Psychoanalysis, and Adrian Stokes: A Biography

Author(s) : Janet Sayers

Art, Psychoanalysis, and Adrian Stokes: A Biography

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : June 2015
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : 352
  • Category :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 36935
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782202837
  • ISBN 10 : 1782202838
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Illustrated with Barbara Hepworth’s abstract stone carving, with other works of art, and with fascinating vignettes from Adrian Stokes’s writing, this biography highlights his revolutionary emphasis on the materials-led inspiration of architecture, sculpture, painting, and the avant-garde creations of the Ballets Russes.

In also detailing Stokes’s role as catalyst of the transformation of St Ives in Cornwall into an internationally-acclaimed centre of modern art, and his falling in love again in his early forties, this biography shows how Stokes used all these experiences, together with his many years of psychoanalytic treatment by Melanie Klein, in forging insights about ways the outer world gives form to the inner world of fantasy and imagination.

Reviews and Endorsements

Read a review of this title in 'Times Higher Education (THE)'

‘Janet Sayers offers a sharply focused, finely researched and wonderfully sympathetic assessment of the extraordinary life and milieu of Adrian Stokes.’
— Tanya Harrod, winner of the 2012 James Tait Black Prize for Biography and author of The Real Thing: Essays on Making in the Modern World

‘Janet Sayers’s sympathetic but determinedly revealing recreation of a now seemingly impossibly distant culture tells of Adrian Stokes’s troubled youth and his transforming experience of psychoanalysis. She explains clearly how he came to write in the 1930s about Italian Renaissance sculpture and the Russian ballet. And in telling the story of his marriages, and how his later writing radically developed his earlier ways of thinking, she shows how his life and his writing were intimately interconnected. I have learned a great deal from this remarkable book.’
— David Carrier, art critic and philosopher, and author of A World Art History and its Objects

‘For the first time the whole biography of Adrian Stokes is richly told from an angle vital to that life – art as interpreted through psychoanalysis – by an expert on his life, on psychoanalysis, and the psychologizing of art. Janet Sayers’s narrative is strongly built on close readings of the foundational material of Stokes’s diaries, manuscripts, and correspondence – together with the art writer’s published texts, and interviews of key associated personalities. Over one hundred images illuminate significant places, buildings, artworks, and moments of the life story. In his Reflections on the Nude (1967) Stokes wrote that “there is the stone and there is the stone that is made evocative”; equally, in this book Sayers has elicited from the facts of Stokes’s history an evocative interpretation centred on his Kleinian sympathies.’
— Professor Stephen Kite, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University

‘Janet Sayers provides a welcome assessment of Adrian Stokes and his contributions to a tradition of cultural scholarship grounded in Renaissance art. In her careful discussion of Stokes the man, the analysand of Melanie Klein, and the art critic, she traces his development of the approach to art as the externalisation of inner emotions through a focus on early states of separateness and fusion, and an extension of Kleinian accounts through the work of Marion Milner.’
— Lesley Caldwell, Honorary Professor, Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London

About the Author(s)

After leaving Dartington Hall School (where Stokes spent time in the 1930s), and after studying philosophy and psychology at Cambridge, and clinical psychology at the Tavistock Clinic in London, Janet Sayers (née Toulson) moved to Canterbury where she works for the NHS and teaches, as emeritus professor of psychoanalytic psychology, at the University of Kent.

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