The Stuff of Dreams: Fantasy, Anxiety and Psychoanalysis
Many texts about anxiety are based either in the philosophical tradition or within the medical model under the guise of discussions about post-traumatic stress disorder. In the case of fantasy, however, the usual sources of discussion are in literary and cultural criticism. Bringing the two together offers the scope for a book with an original theme. The aim throughout is to make technical psychoanalytic ideas easily accessible to the general reader. The balance between clinical ideas, philosophical ideas and literary sources is aimed at keeping both potential audiences interested. Clinicians may find the idea of thinking 'dialectically' helpful with their patients. Although this approach is implied in both Freud and Lacan, this is the first book to put dialectics 'centre stage' in terms of understanding the patient's discourse. As far as general readers are concerned, most texts on fantasy do not 'home in' on the contribution of anxiety to the constantly changing content of fantasy.
This book offers a new approach to the problem of anxiety. It suggests that our fantasies (both public and private) offer the key to understanding our anxieties and vice versa. If, instead of flopping in front of the latest episode of 'Star Trek' or 'The Simpsons', we stop to ask ourselves, 'Why are we watching fantasy on TV?' then this book provides some answers. The principle sources for understanding the phenomenon of fantasy combined with anxiety are drawn from the worlds of psychoanalysis, literature and popular culture. At times, the book offers clinical examples of fantasy/anxiety interactions; at others, literary or popular cultural sources are preferred. The variety of references endeavours to reflect the chimerical nature of both fantasy and anxiety.
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