Variegation, difference and other matters

It is now decidedly Autumn. The leaves are about all turned or already fallen off their branches. The pavements have that irritating layer of sodden, rotting leaves. Our back garden has the wonderful show of brown and reddish yellow, of mustard and red pepper, of berries and the yet to be plucked speckled apples. It…

Chekhov and Love

Chekhov's (1860-1904) love stories are not romantic accounts of unrequited love or of love at first sight. Or, even of tortured love that is amplified by the agony of being unfulfilled. No, these are Chekhovian tales that surprise and intrigue our imagination. Chekhov, exactly like Ibsen, knows his characters very well. He knows them well…

The Journey In My Head

  In 1931, probably in November, Bernardo Soares daydreamed during ‘the journey between Cascais and Lisbon’. He said I went to Cascais in order to pay the tax on a house my boss Vasques owns in Estoril. I looked forward eagerly to the trip, an hour there and an hour back, a chance to watch…

Alphonse Daudet & The Phenomenology Of Pain

  Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897), novelist, playwright, and journalist, contracted syphilis at the age of 17 years, shortly after arriving in Paris in 1857. Syphilis was the HIV of the 19th century. Literary men such as Baudelaire, Flaubert and Maupassant were all afflicted and syphilis was central to Ibsen’s Ghosts and of peripheral importance in Doll’s…

Hemingway’s Paris

In Paris, we usually stay at Hotel RASPAIL, on Bd Raspail. It is next door to Restaurant Haute Mer, an excellent seafood place at the corner of Bd Raspail and Bd Montparnasse. It is a thriving area that boasts Le Dome, another seafood place, La Coupole, La Rotonde, etc. We have been staying at Hotel…

Melancholia

    Our sixth combat is with what the Greeks call ακηδια, which we may term weariness or distress of heart. This is akin to dejection, and is especially trying to solitaries, and dangerous and frequent foe to the dwellers in the desert… (Cassian circa 416 CE)   Ajax, in Sophocles’ play, after slaughtering cattle…

Borges and I

  In ‘Borges and I’ Borges (1899-1986) confronted the deep problems of the self, who we ultimately are, what persists of us when we die, and what our relationship is with the world and with our inner self. He said It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live,…

Buttes, Mesas, Pillars and Time

I've been reading Eugene Minkowski's Lived Time. His preoccupation is with the structure of psychopathology as far as it concerns the experience of time. He does have novel ideas especially about future orientation or what he calls the future horizon. He makes the point that Desire, Hope and Prayer are future orientated. In melancholia, desire…

Verbal hallucinations

  I have just returned from Nice. European Psychiatrists were gathered together for 4 days talking about the issues that most concern us. At the heart of psychiatry is a concern for the individual who is in distress. The distress is subjectively experienced and has to be communicated in words, in language, in the main.…

Sea of grass

If you are in the Serengeti, and you look across the sea of grass, for that is what Serengeti means and is, a sea of grass, you will see how boundless is that space, the Eastern African plains. It stretches on forever and the eye cannot take in the vastness of it. Faraway, the air…