Looking for a Place to Fall Apart – Merle Haggard’s Music
Presented by 2017 Silberger Paper Prize Award Recipient Richard Wheeler, PhD
Aged nine when his beloved father died, Merle Haggard quickly spun off into a life of truancy, delinquency, and crime, culminating in imprisonment in San Quentin at the age of nineteen. The psychological struggles of his youth never left him, but his music enabled him to use these conflicts in the service of mastering his art, honoring his deep and complex filial loyalties, and sustaining his ferociously guarded integrity. Erikson’s work on delinquency and Winnicott’s on selfhood can help illuminate both the nature of these conflicts and Haggard’s effort to survive them, use them, and explore them in him music.
About the Silberger Paper Prize Award
Each year the Silberger Paper Prize Award is granted to the author of an outstanding paper reflecting an interdisciplinary consideration of psychoanalytic theories or concepts. The award committee welcomes submissions from neighboring fields, including developmental psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, historical studies, arts and humanities.
Richard Wheeler, PhD (Presenter) — Richard Wheeler studied psychoanalytic criticism with C. L. Barber, Norman Holland, and Murray Schwartz at SUNY/Buffalo before joining the University of Illinois English faculty in 1969. He published psychoanalytically oriented criticism of Shakespeare and Elizabethan drama, D. H. Lawrence, and W. B. Yeats. His principle effort was to identify and clarify psychological patterns that shape Shakespeare’s art and to link patterns in the art to what is known of the life. He spent his entire academic career at Illinois, as faculty member, department head, graduate dean, vice provost, and interim provost, and is now a senior advisor for Academic Analytics.
Howard Katz, MD (Discussant) — Supervising and Training Analyst and former President at BPSI. He is on the faculty of the McLean Hospital Adult Psychiatry Residency Program.
Murray Schwartz, PhD (Panelist) — Professor Emeritus at Emerson College and Coordinator of BPSI’s Center for Multi-disciplinary Psychoanalytic Studies (COMPASS).
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