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Nicholas Spice, 4 September 1986

A Simple Story 
by S.Y. Agnon, translated by Hillel Halkin.
246 pp., £13.10, March 1986, 0 8052 3999 5
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At the Handles of the Lock: Themes in the Fiction of S.Y. Agnon 
by David Aberbach.
Oxford, 221 pp., £18, November 1984, 0 19 710040 6
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Snakewrist 
by Christopher Burns.
Cape, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 224 02351 9
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... and for ‘holy’ or ‘wise’. The echoes are fortuitous, but they are not unapt. For, as David Aberbach shows, Agnon was preoccupied throughout his writing career with the private sufferings of passive personalities, which he portrayed with a judicious and detached agnosticism. Commenting on the Hebrew meaning of Agnon, ...

What is there to lose?

Adam Phillips, 24 May 1990

Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia 
by Julia Kristeva, translated by Leon Roudiez.
Columbia, 300 pp., $33.50, October 1989, 0 231 06706 2
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Surviving trauma: Loss, Literature and Psychoanalysis 
by David Aberbach.
Yale, 192 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 300 04557 3
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... in three of the most brilliant chapters in her new book – after Freud but not for Freud. David Aberbach, by contrast, is oddly impressed by how much Great Writers in the past knew about loss without having read John Bowlby. If new disciplines like psychoanalysis thrive initially on fantasies of purity, they can only be sustained by what looks ...

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