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Rhythm Method

Jenny Diski, 22 September 1994

R.D. Laing: A Biography 
by Adrian Laing.
Peter Owen, 248 pp., £25, August 1994, 0 7206 0934 8
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... the time it came as something of a revelation, not least because there was an audience beyond the psychiatric community primed by the Zeitgeist of the late Fifties and early Sixties to fall on their ideas and make much – too much, perhaps – of them. I was a member of that wider audience. When Volume One of Sanity, Madness and the Family by R.D. Laing and ...
Western Political Thought in the Face of the Future 
by John Dunn.
Cambridge, 120 pp., £8.50
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... real-life experiment. Experimental subjects were, for example, coached to exhibit the symptoms of psychiatric disorders and then presented themselves for admission to mental hospitals: could the psychiatrists tell which were the fake patients and which were the real ones? Some school-teachers were falsely informed that certain of their new pupils had high IQ ...


Sarah Rigby: ME, 20 August 1998

... but if doctors don’t all agree about what ME is, many more now accept that it does exist. The ME Association estimates that between 10 and 20 per cent of GPs are still sceptical; it emphasises that getting an informed doctor very much depends on where you happen to live. Bristol is a good place; Lincoln is not. Older doctors, it is thought, are much more ...


Elaine Showalter: My Year of Living Dangerously, 2 April 1998

... warning of how great a disappointment I would be to my British friends. UK newspaper reports of American reactions to my book Hystories, published in March last year, had mentioned threats of assassination, and had described me as requiring constant protection. In the book, I argue that several contemporary phenomena – chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War ...

Steaming like a Pie

Theo Tait: ‘Going Postal’, 4 December 2003

by J. Robert Lennon.
Granta, 483 pp., £15.99, October 2003, 1 86207 625 1
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... dead and wounding six others before killing himself. Nearly twenty similar incidents occurred at American post offices during the 1980s and 1990s, though on a smaller scale. As a result ‘going postal’ came to be used as a synonym for a berserk outburst of violence. Charles Bukowski’s butch, squalid autobiographical novel Post Office (1971) gives some ...

Keeping Score

Ian Jackman: Joe DiMaggio, 10 May 2001

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life 
by Richard Ben Cramer.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £20, April 2001, 0 684 85391 4
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... great baseball player for the New York Yankees – a man of peerless grace and, in the American sense, class. Besides, he married Marilyn Monroe. This is a book about a hero, but the hero comes off like a schmuck. Some people who write letters to newspapers or call radio sports shows or post comments on say they are upset at Cramer’s ...

Naughty Children

Christopher Turner: Freud’s Free Clinics, 6 October 2005

Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice 1918-38 
by Elizabeth Ann Danto.
Columbia, 348 pp., £19.50, May 2005, 0 231 13180 1
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... in Berlin in 1920 by two members of his inner circle: Max Eitingon, who had directed the psychiatric divisions of several Hungarian military hospitals during the war, and Ernst Simmel, who had been director of a Prussian hospital for shell-shocked soldiers. Almost all the 42 analysts who attended the 1918 Budapest conference appeared in military ...

Making Up People

Ian Hacking: Clinical classifications, 17 August 2006

... this first instance, there was the multiple movement, a loose alliance of patients, therapists and psychiatric theorists, on the one hand, who believed in this diagnosis and in a certain kind of person, the multiple. There was the larger psychiatric establishment that rejected the diagnosis altogether: a doctor in ...

In the Egosphere

Adam Mars-Jones: The Plot against Roth, 23 January 2014

Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books 
by Claudia Roth Pierpont.
Cape, 353 pp., £25, January 2014, 978 0 224 09903 5
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... Irving Howe and Alfred Kazin in his corner – ‘four tigers’, as he describes them, of American Jewish literature – it might have been possible to ignore the fringe of pious malcontents, but appeasement has never gained ground in Roth’s personal style. In her introduction Pierpont says she has known Roth ‘in sickness and in ...


D.A.N. Jones, 2 June 1983

... recognised the apparent need for a non-Commercial element in society and she set up the Queen’s Association of Non-Commercial Officers, to deal with clergymen, heads of the broadcasting authorities, judges, magistrates, members of parliament, sports referees and various other oddments which seemed to demand an independence that no Commercial organisation ...

Dennis Nilsen, or the Pot of Basil

John Ryle, 21 February 1985

Killing for Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen 
by Brian Masters.
Cape, 352 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 224 02184 2
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by Pickles.
Quartet, 289 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7043 2439 3
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Ritualised Homosexuality in Melanesia 
edited by Gilbert Herdt.
California, 409 pp., £19.95, October 1984, 0 520 05037 1
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... and sensitivity; he also considers and gently dismisses the lamentably vague and contradictory psychiatric evidence given at Nilsen’s trial. Do we really need psychiatrists to tell lawyers whether or not a man like Nilsen suffers from ‘diminished responsibility’? Or whether he has a ‘personality disorder’ (more specifically, in the words of one ...

Pissing in the Snow

Steven Rose: Dissidents and Scientists, 18 July 2019

Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science 
by Audra J. Wolfe.
Johns Hopkins, 302 pp., £22, January 2019, 978 1 4214 2673 0
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... two camps thesis for Russian science. Wolfe shows that it was endorsed by the US too. According to American propaganda, just as Nazi Germany’s ‘Aryan science’ had failed to produce an atomic bomb, so the Soviet state’s official endorsement of Lysenko’s fraudulent claims demonstrated that science could flourish only if pursued freely and without ...

The Intrusive Apostrophe

Fintan O’Toole, 23 June 1994

Sean O’Faolain: A Life 
by Maurice Harmon.
Constable, 326 pp., £16.95, May 1994, 0 09 470140 7
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Vive Moi! An Autobiography 
by Sean O’Faolain.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 377 pp., £20, November 1993, 1 85619 376 4
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... Irish intelligentsia, led to the foundation by him of WAAMA, the Writers Artists Actors Musicians Association, a short-lived trade union for workers whose services were not exactly regarded as essential. WAAMA inspired the Times columnist Myles naGopaleen (the novelist Flann O’Brien) to an extended fantasy that raised the dilemma of the artist in ...

Last Word

Michael Ignatieff, 3 February 1983

The Wolf-Man: Sixty Years Later 
by Karin Obholzer, translated by Michael Shaw.
Routledge, 250 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 7100 9354 3
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Ernest Jones: Freud’s Alter Ego 
by Vincent Brome.
Caliban, 250 pp., £12.50, January 1983, 0 904573 57 5
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... ward of psychoanalysis, receiving small retainers from Freud, and then from the Freud Society. An American analyst, Muriel Gardiner, befriended him in 1938, and with great devotion and persistence, managed to persuade him to write his memoirs. When these appeared in 1971, they contained a dutiful acknowledgment of the debt he owed to the Master and to the ...

Kuwait Diary

Stephen Sackur: In Kuwait , 27 February 1992

... of what used to be a suburban school in southern Kuwait City a group of volunteers known as the Association for the Defence of War Victims has established an exhibition to illustrate Iraqi torture techniques. I walk around it with a young guide called Adel, who assures me that it has already been visited by many thousands of Kuwaitis. At one end of the room ...

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