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We live in a multiplicity of personal worlds, all connected through the power of our unconscious mind and its capacity for trance. This vast unconscious, far larger than conscious awareness, appears to initiate all our movements. The cognitive unconscious, with its perceptual-cognitive abilities, automated motor skills, and implicit memory, facilitates creative expression while clinically, our unconscious emotions, internal conflicts, and repressed desires drive the inspiration and passion of a creative trance. Relinquishing conscious control in the creative process can be a type of artistic projective identification. As the visual artist Joan Mitchell says, “the painting tells me what to do.” Unlike the slow sequential thinking of the conscious mind, the unconscious is a parallel processor quickly integrating multiple variables to bring depth and complexity into the creative process. It carries out multipart repeated behaviors that become automatic fluid expertise, as in the violinist no longer concentrating on finger positions and the archer instinctually positioning a bow.
Melanie Klein was the first child psychoanalyst who delineated the rich and astounding inner lives of infants and young children and demonstrated the fundamental importance of mothers’ roles in human development. She was one of the founders of the “object relation theory” school, and her concepts – including “projective identification,” “depressive position,” and “paranoid-schizophrenic position” – have remained influential in clinical practice. Klein grew up in an impoverished immigrant family and suffered from multiple losses during her childhood and young adulthood, including the death of her father and two of her siblings. During most of her adult life, she was weighed down by a very difficult marriage, as well as estrangement from her own children. Her decades’ long fights with Anna Freud made life even more difficult for her (and for others). Yet, she survived it all and went on to make major contributions. This chapter provides a sketch of Klein’s life, focusing on various difficulties confronting her throughout her life, and their relationship with her insights and contributions.
The chapter finds in Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ a radical problematization of idiolect, one that creates a specific form of unstable narrative practice. It finds within these problematics a demand for what will be called the Loyolan Position: a mental stance towards the crises both Loyola and Joyce mobilize. The chapter is marked by a fresh, sustained close reading of one of the most well-read and well-analysed stories in English.
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