The Apprehension of Beauty: The Role of Aesthetic Conflict in Development, Art and Violence

Author(s) : Donald Meltzer, Author(s) : Meg Harris Williams

Part of The Harris Meltzer Trust Series - more in this series

The Apprehension of Beauty: The Role of Aesthetic Conflict in Development, Art and Violence

Book Details

  • Publisher : Harris Meltzer Trust
  • Published : 2008
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 280
  • Category :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Category 2 :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 27506
  • ISBN 13 : 9781855756243
  • ISBN 10 : 1855756242

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This volume has grown over the years as a family project of Martha Harris, her two daughters Meg and Morag and her husband, Donald Meltzer. It therefore has its roots in English literature and its branches waving wildly about in Psycho-analysis. It is earnestly hoped that it will reveal more problems than it will solve.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its first publication, the re-issue of this book which has become among the most significant and classic contributions to post-Kleinian thought and learning, is surely a welcome and much anticipated event. Aesthetics, beauty, and the aesthetic conflict, have been the building blocks of psychoanalysis, a revised developmental scheme of "love-at-firstsight" mother-child relationship with its consequent good internal object formation, and the critical reading of literature and poetry. This book represents the gems of thought and discovery in the works of Meg Harris Williams and Donald Meltzer.'
- Gilead Nachmani, Psychoanalyst, William Alanson White Institute, New York

'The Apprehension of Beauty comprises in a nutshell the Meltzerian innovations in psychoanalytic thought, in particular his application of Bion's theory of the apprehension aroused by the "new idea" as pointing specifically to the "mystery" at the nucleus of the "aesthetic conflict". The book, assembled by two pairs of hands, reviews various aspects of the aesthetic conflict, alternating clinical essays and those of literary criticism, serving to demonstrate how the process set in motion in analysis and in the coming to fruition of an art work are essentially one.'
- Sandra Gosso, Specialist in Psychology of art, researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Pisa

'This beautifully conceived and written book has the power to inspire, both for its passionately-felt insights into the origins of the human capacity to apprehend beauty, and for the sheer breadth of the sources on which it draws. And thanks to Meg Harris Williams' rich and evocative contributions from the world of literature, the book will have wide appeal beyond those privileged through the psychoanalytic encounter to enjoy what Meltzer calls 'the most interesting conversation in the world'. The work they have created between them may be said truly to deliver the 'blow of beauty' of which it speaks.'
- Dorothy Hamilton, Training therapist and supervisor, Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy

'The book presents a psychoanalytic model of the mind that suggests how the aesthetic aspects of just being born can have simultaneously a most violent and a most tender impact upon the human mind. It elaborates the impact of the aesthetic conflict in work with patients, in creativity and art. The two writers show, in a beautiful way, how the psychoanalytical process itself stands forth as an artform; and how clinical material, dreams, artworks, poems and plays can all be connected to the aesthetic conflict. The interplay between Meltzer's clinical material and Harris Williams's interpretations of Shakespeare and poetry, brings the two minds in the book in juxtaposition and we catch a glimpse of the interactive influence they must have had on one another - an influence that created the great psychoanalytic object that is "The Apprehension of Beauty".'
- Grete Tangen Andersen, Morten Andersen, Trond Holm, Jon Morgan Stokkeland, Lilian Stokkeland, Eirik Tjesem (The Meltzer Study Group, Stavanger, Norway)

About the Author(s)

Donald Meltzer (1923-2004) is widely known as a psychoanalyst and teacher throughout Europe and South America. He is the author of many works on psychoanalytic theory and practice, including The Psychoanalytical Process, Sexual States of Mind, Explorations in Autism, The Kleinian Development, Dream Life, Studies in Extended Metapsychology, and The Claustrum, all published by Karnac Books.

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Meg Harris Williams, a writer and artist, studied English at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and art at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, and has had a lifelong psychoanalytic education. She has written and lectured extensively in the UK and abroad on psychoanalysis and literature, and teaches at the Tavistock Centre in London, and the University of Surrey. She is married with four children and lives in Farnham, Surrey.

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