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Is There Life Without Mother?


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Table of Contents

I. Biography
1. Another Impossible Profession
2. Artistic Creativity
3. Clinical and Literary Examples
4. The Primal Parent: A Patient's Cry
II. Literary Lives
5. Jules Renard: Soul Murder in Life and Literature
6. Trollope: His Life and Creativity
7. School Days and After: disorder and Early Sorrow, and Recovery
8. Trollope's Writing Method
9. Daydreaming in the Service of Creativity and of Sexuality
10. Identity and Fiction: Father and Son
11. Identity and Fiction: The Nuances of Resentment
12. What Was Trollope Like?
13. Trollope's Love for His Characters
14. Trollope's Death
15. Trollope with Mother
III. Conclusion and Epilogue
16. Conclusion and More Literary Examples
Epilogue: Multiple Personalities

About the Author

Leonard Shengold, M.D., making use of literary works and lives to illustrate his clinical observations, has written extensively on clinical subjects such as incest and child abuse(soul murder), on historical subjects such as Freud biography, and on literary subjects such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Chekhov, and Orwell, among others. Dr. Shengold is a Clinical Professor at New York University Medical School and a Training Analyst and former Director of the NYU Institute for Psychoanalysis. He is a recipient of the Sigourney Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychoanalysis.


"Leonard Shengold revisits Soul Murder once more with rich rewards for the reader. Training his psychoanalytic acumen on the study of biography and literary creativity, he explores the pathogenic effects of inadequate parenting and the efforts at recovery among a group of writers destined to wrestle with 'life without mother.' With the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope as his main 'patient,' Shengold intrigues us with the story of how Trollope rescued himself from a miserable, nearly devastating childhood and adolescence through creativity, sublimation and adaptation to the culture of his time. All the while, and quite appropriately so, Shengold remains in awe of the mystery of creativity."

- Samuel Ritvo, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale Child Study Center

"Better than anyone writing today, Leonard Shengold combines extraordinary clinical skills with his creative capacity for fascinating us with analytic perspectives. Is There Life Without Mother? will stimulate many readers' interest in exploring creativity and its complex, challenging relationships with childhood traumas. Shengold thoughtfully carries to new heights the process of extrapolating analytic meanings from the creative writings and biographies of several remarkable writers. Throughout, as he brings writers and concepts to life, he wisely includes bridges to his own earlier and relevant clinical and theoretical observations."

- Paul Gray, M.D., Supervising and Training Analyst Emeritus, Baltimore-Washington Psychoanalytic Institute

"Shengold offers us a well-reasoned study combining psychoanalysis, biography, and the link with creativity...The author's life experiences are convincingly related to plot lines and narrative development in their novels, and mental representations of self and object are carefully related to characters who populate these fictional worlds."

- Harry Trosman, Psychoanalytic Quarterly

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