19 Slices
Medium 9781855754546

Chapter Eight - Antony and Cleopatra—“Star-Cross'd” Lovers?

Michael Jacobs Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER EIGHT

Antony and Cleopatra—“star-cross'd” lovers?

Lifting “star-cross'd lovers” from the prologue of Romeo and Juliet is somewhat disingenuous in the case of Antony and Cleopatra, and is even more so when the whole line is quoted: “A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life”. In Romeo and Juliet the reference is to receiving life from the procreation of two rival pairs of parents. This is no reference to suicidal actions, and indeed the deaths of Romeo and Juliet are tragic accidents of fate. But a similar tragic theme pervades both plays—the love that leads to death.

Antony and Cleopatra are different—they are, for a start, older, and, one might have thought, wiser. And one of them indeed takes her life intentionally, while the other throws his life away in what may well appear to be a useless cause. He also throws away his career through his love for Cleopatra. Yet they are also “star-cross'd lovers”, their love conflicting with their other roles as warrior, politician, and monarch.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754898

CHAPTER NINE: Have we lost fate?

Michael Jacobs Karnac Books ePub

Having some years before delivered the lecture from which the previous chapter is taken, it was a surprise when I found myself honoured in a similar way, although it was quite clear this was not to be an annual memorial lecture since I was asked to deliver the first Michael Jacobs lecture myself at the University of Leicester in 2006! Nevertheless, it was a strange experience, and remains so when more distinguished people than myself deliver the lecture in subsequent years. Why did I choose Fate? Perhaps because, as I suggest in the previous chapter, any fame I might have achieved is only partly of my doing. Opportunities have come my way, Fate has played its hand; and although I might have taken those opportunities, nevertheless I would not have got anywhere without others opening doors that enabled me to find more of myself, and therefore have the privilege of following through my ideas in a more public arena than most people can. The subject also appealed because it enabled me to dig around in some of the earlier psychoanalytic literature, and to examine what others, similarly interested in the topic, had made of it. I seldom write anything new; I do, perhaps, bring the old to life.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754546

Chapter One - The Qualities of People

Michael Jacobs Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER ONE

The qualities of people

Psychoanalysis has developed an enduring interest in literature, just as literary criticism has not been averse to drawing upon various possibilities thrown up by psychoanalysis. Perhaps this is not surprising when Freud wrote of his own case histories: ‘It still strikes me myself as strange that the case histories I write should read like short stories and that, as one might say, they lack the serious stamp of science’ (Freud & Breuer, 1895d, p. 160). The richness of his associations appears to show sheer enjoyment and fascination as he explored the imagery and relationships in a once popular novel, Jensen's Gradiva (1907a). Other essays of his use literary figures, sometimes through his wish to protect the confidentiality of his patients (e.g., 1916d), sometimes because the figures themselves lead to interesting speculation (e.g., 1913f). Shakespeare's characters, as well as indeed the identity of Shakespeare himself (a mistaken hypothesis in Freud's case) also feature strongly in some of his essays, as well as in his major works, such as The Interpretation of Dreams (1900a). The chapters that follow demonstrate how often Shakespeare's characters have either been the basis of psychoanalytic study in themselves, or have informed or been informed by the case work of many analysts. Two articles (Greenberg & Rothenberg, 1974; Willbern, 1978), which list references to Shakespeare's plays, principally in psychoanalytic literature, provide respectively details of 318 and 316 articles or books; and Levey (1993) lists 403 more that have been published since the appearance of those bibliographies.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754898

CHAPTER THREE: Naming and labelling

Michael Jacobs Karnac Books ePub

My first journal publication, which led to other invitations to write, appeared in 1976, in the journal Contact, which addressed the interface between pastoral care and counselling and disciplines such as the social sciences, psychology, and theology. I represented the then Association of Pastoral Care and Counselling on the journal's editorial board. I was working at that time in the Student Health service at the University of Leicester, where I was the sole therapist. My colleagues were doctors who, for the most part, were psychologically minded, and not usually as those described in this article. Nevertheless, the experience of being immersed in the medical world, and engaging in conversations which certainly did include technical terms that were sometimes foreign to me, no doubt forced me to think about the whole diagnostic process in medicine, and how it related to the work I was doing with the clients referred to me by the medical staff. It was, in one sense, not a very original idea, and I was soon to discover that there was plenty of criticism of the psychiatric medical model even within psychiatry itself. However, the concept of naming, which features in the second half of the chapter, was a more original idea, and it is that part of the original paper that I later expanded when asked to talk about the subject. Byatt's writing made a particular impression on me; and that part of the paper also formed a significant section of the second chapter of my book The Presenting Past (2006). Much has changed since the paper was first written— with many more general practices, or primary care as it is now known, including counsellors in the team. This has influenced my revision of the paper for publication here, although I suspect that some of the issues I raise in the first half are as relevant to those counsellors in their relationships with medical staff as they were for me when I started my career in counselling and psychotherapy.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754546

Chapter Seven - The Macbeths: a Childless Couple?

Michael Jacobs Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER SEVEN

The Macbeths: a childless couple?

Father and daughter, father and son—these have been prominent themes in earlier chapters. Coming to Macbeth one of the major issues, at least as posited in psychoanalytic writing, is the principal characters' childlessness. Instead, it is often commented, the parent–child relationship is played out within the marriage of Macbeth and his wife.

This, for example, is the argument put forward by Hildebrand in a chapter titled “The Caledonian tragedy” (2006). Hildebrand chooses his title from one of several alternative names used in the theatre for Macbeth, since there is a superstition amongst actors that the actual name of Shakespeare's tragedy should never be spoken aloud in a theatre. Better known is the title “The Scottish Play”, although there are others that Hildebrand refers to, such as “Harry Lauder”, “That Play” or “The Unmentionable”. Citing material from a book on the play by Huggett (1981), Hildebrand refers to a history of disasters associated with the staging of the play: “theatres collapsing, actors falling ill, being injured in stage fights, running away, breaking down and actresses miscarrying” (Hildebrand, 2006, p. 44). Actors playing the leading roles are said to have died soon after the play opened and many productions have been associated with dreadful experiences for the cast. Because of the play's popularity, it was often thought that the company must be about to close when it was put on, because the management were trying to get the audience into the theatre to save the company from financial collapse. There have apparently been actual deaths in stage duels; and The Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon burned down in the 1930s on the night following a performance of Macbeth.

See All Chapters

See All Slices