Psychoanalysis in My Life: An Intellectual Memoir
by Murray M. Schwartz, PhD
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:
But I, entelechy, form of forms, am I by memory because under ever-changing forms.
—James Joyce, Ulysses
Two distincts, division none.
—Shakespeare, “The Phoenix and the Turtle”
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
My “intellectual autobiography” can be imagined as two sets of three overlapping circles. The first set of circles consists of activities: teaching, academic administration, and writing. The second set consists of three intellectual preoccupations: psychoanalysis, literature, especially Shakespeare, and the Holocaust. Each set is implicated in the other, and all six circles are in motion, their interplay and interaction varying from time to time and place to place, more like Ptolemy than Copernicus.
This abstract scheme is my guide to memory. I hope that the meanings of the circles will become clearer as I tell my story.
In 1942, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I was born into a working-class Sephardic Jewish family. I have a visceral memory of the resounding percussions of the 16” battleship guns practicing in New York harbor during the Second World War. Less than two years later, my father, a skilled carpenter and welder during the Depression, enlisted in the Navy.<…>
American Imago, 75(2): 125-152, 2018.
About the Author:
Murray Schwartz has taught Shakespeare, psychoanalysis, and Holocaust literature for over fifty years. His writing spans a wide range of interdisciplinary interests and includes essays on Shakespeare’s last plays, the work of Erik Erikson, applied psychoanalysis, modern poetry, and trauma studies. He has co-edited several anthologies, including Representing Shakespeare: New Psychoanalytic Essays (1980) and Memory and Desire: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Aging (1985). He and Peggy Schwartz wrote The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus (2011). He was President of the PsyArt Foundation and edited the online journal PsyArt from 2000 to 2012. He was a Dean or Provost with various universities for twenty-five years. A Professor Emeritus at Emerson College, he is an Affiliate Scholar Member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, where he is Coordinator of the Center for Multi-Disciplinary Psychoanalytic Studies (COMPASS).
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