A lecturer in psychiatry (Oxford) looks at the psychotherapeutic
virtues of solitude. Some of Storr's earlier books have dealt with
the psychology of art (The Dynamics of Creation) and aggression
(Human Aggression). Here he retains his viewpoint (a sort of
liberated Freudianism, with heavy doses of Jung), his theme (the
way in which creative people achieve self-integration), and even
some favorite case-studies (Franz Kafka, for example). His
contention - which runs against the grain of classic psychoanalytic
doctrine but will come as no surprise to most folks - is that
self-realization can be found through isolation as well as through
family and society. Storr marshals a formidable array of
psychologists - Gellner, Winnicott, Bowlby, and Gardner among them
- to buttress his argument, which veers from insight (his
criticisms of Freud) to technical jargon (usually well explained)
to platitude ("human beings change and develop as life goes on";
"contemporary Western culture makes the peace of solitude difficult
to attain"). More intriguing are his psychobiographies of artists
and thinkers - e.g., Beethoven, Kant, Wittgenstein, Beatrix Potter
- which demonstrate how isolation can trigger or strenghten
creative skills. A humane, sensible, rather drab approach to a
largely unexplored subject. While StoWs psychoanalytical spectacles
have a nondogmatic, fairly wide field-of-view, much of his analysis
will appeal only to specialists. (Kirkus Reviews)
'Brings excellent news for those who, whatever their reasons for
doing so, live alone ... Heartening' Anita Brookner, Spectator
'Storr is an incapable of writing an uninteresting paragraph'
Sunday Times' How can we find value in spending time alone? Many of
the history's geniuses were, by nature or circumstance, often
solitary. Beethoven, Beatrix Potter, Henry James, Wittgenstein,
Kipling. In this book, acclaimed psychiatrist Dr Anthony Storr
explores the psychological value of spending time alone. How can we
reconnect with what matters to us outside of our social
relationships? How can we find an emotional difference between
being alone and being lonely? Insightful and inspiring, this is a
book that can help us feel more comfortable spending time alone,
and show how to use solitude to focus on our interests, values and
creative energies beyond the social sphere.
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Review This Product
Sat, 11 Jun 2011 | Review by: inksi
As a solitary person by nature, Storr's book was a revelation after a lifetime of trying to adapt to the modern view that relationships are the essential key to happiness. Not that any one needs Storr's blessing to their more solitary happiness, but it is more than gratifying to realise that you are not alone in needing to be alone.
It is many years since I read this but it probably was the best value of any book that I ever purchased. Storr's writing is excellent and if you think on these things you will gain a lot from reading this.
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