(Alfred Rosenberg talks to psychiatrist and friend, Friedrich Pfister)
"I have to confess that you're the first psychiatrist I've ever met. I know noth
(Alfred Rosenberg talks to psychiatrist and friend, Friedrich Pfister)
"I have to confess that you're the first psychiatrist I've ever met. I know nothing about your field" "Well, for centuries, psychiatrists have primarily been diagnosticians and custodians for hospitalized psychotic, almost incurable patients, but all that has changed in the last decade. The change began with Sigmund Freud in Vienna, who invented the talking treatment called psychoanalysis , which permits us to help patients overcome psychological problems. Today we can treat such ailments as extreme anxiety or intractable grief or something we call hysteria-an ailment in which a patient has psychologically caused physical symptoms like paralysis or even blindness. My teachers in Zurich, Carl Jung and Eugen Bleuler, have been pioneers in this field. I'm intrigued by this approach and will soon be starting advanced training in psychoanalysis in Berlin with Karl Abraham, a highly regarded teacher". "I've heard some things about psychoanalysis . I've heard it referred to as another Jewish intrigue. Are your teachers all Jews? "Certainly not Jung or Bleuler" "But Friedrich, why involve yourself in a Jewish field?" "It will be a Jewish field unless we Germans step in. Or put it another way: It's too good to be left to the Jews"
I know 'Bento' Spinoza --the excommunicated Jew, of Portuguese descent--had a great impact on Yalom, who, in fact, visited his places in Holland. But the narrative, so far, results a bit disconnected going backwards and forwards: 17th century (for Spinoza) and beginning of 20th century in Estonia and Germany to follow this (Nazi) character called Alfred Rosenberg.
Only by the middle of the book we get to connect the dots: Alfred has a sort of admiration for Spinoza too; he’s greatly involved in Hitler’s life trajectory.
So far, too much biographical work being made on both sides: Spinoza and Alfred; but the dialogues sometimes are obviously psychological, as if in a counseling room; I mean, you can easily spot the author: Yalom,a the psychiatrist.
Unless a great leap ---I'm not asking for a quantum leap!---of the narrative happens I’m still reading with a 3,5 stars in mind. Maybe, a 4, for the historical unraveling.
Meanwhile I've been battling in my own mind with this thing I know from Yalom himself: born of a Jewish craddle, yet not feeling that much religious since a young age*.
[You, dear reader, dare not to think of a "Yalom problem"...; not even "The Yalom problem"]
I'll keep on reading...even if it will take me closer to the Portuguese writers of old (center, in first photo: du Bocage).
Maybe the best of the book, for me, resides in the last two parts, the Epilogue, and the post-epilogue clarification called “Fact or fiction, setting the record straight"; the latter giving details on the sources of the novel and those parts which were “invented”.
As to the Epilogue I got very pleased with the true Spinoza and the ban-lifting by the state of Israel. Spinoza, one philosopher admired by Ben-Gurion.
Regarding the fiction Spinoza my balance is quite negative. Yalom had him “converted” to Epicurus; and I still doubt the real Spinoza was ever one Epicurean man.
(preparing his next speech...)
The book offers, throughout, abundant data on Hitler’s life, and the epilogue approaches with detail the Nuremberg trials. Alfred Rosenberg (IQ 124) portrait is really sad, though truthful; he’s depicted as the “intellectual high priest of the master race…and the doctrine of hate”, who “never” denied the charges he was upon.
I am not sure whether this parallel approach ever benefited Spinoza. I had great expectations; yet some were somewhere thwarted by those voluminous “Nazi chapters”.
Despite the aforementioned, …long lives Spinoza.
(Spinoza up, Alfred down; I prefer this cover, cannot tell why....)
He died at 75, with a wish-list for the afterlife: “I want to travel through the space to visit other planets”.
Edgar Rice Burroughs outsold the combiHe died at 75, with a wish-list for the afterlife: “I want to travel through the space to visit other planets”.
Edgar Rice Burroughs outsold the combination of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner, at his time. He ventured far (and wide) in the realm of imagination. Maybe he "caught" kids and teens first, then adults, definitely. I was one of the "caught-ups" in this vast world imagined, when I was a teen; I read Tarzan whenever possible and all the pulp fiction I could grab.
Ray Bradbury was right saying about Burroughs: “astronomers and biochemists fell in love with John Carter and Tarzan; B. put us on the moon; all technologists read”… him. So, no wonder Bradbury called him the “most influential writer of the world”. I agree in some way, for a certain genre of writing.
The Barsoom world (which this novel of John Carter adventures on Mars is a part of) started before Tarzan. It was a shy start up, so to speak, because Burroughs didn’t even pen it with his own name, but under the name Norman Bean. The 1st version was called Under the moons of Mars; later then it became A princess of Mars, published in 1912. Burroughs was in a sort of “existential desperation”; the business of writing saved him; he had started at 35; he acknowledged: his earlier career had been disappointing.
APoM struck me first for its introductory lines. John Carter the civil war hero (the one we all love, writes the narrator,…grey eyes ,black-hair…a typical southern gentleman), finds himself looking for gold in the Arizona landscape; his musings inside a cave are lapidary: >“I am a very old man…possibly I am 100 possibly more…I have always been a man of 30”.
And shortly after he’s catapulted to another sphere: Mars; he’s just seen his terrestrial body laying inside the cave; now, he’s bare naked contemplating this incubator of eggs…of strange creatures, hatching.
The whole panoply of creatures will unfold before his eyes: male, green Martians with “scrawny” bodies, “6 legged creatures”, 15 feet high, 400 pounds of weight.Then females, 10 to 12 feet tall. Beings made for war; “naturally” selected and raised for war. A population with curious statistics: of 300 years of average life,they can live up to 1000 years, only 1 in 1000 dies of disease; there’s a continual warfare between their communities. Carter's only friends are Martian Sola (a "motherly" young woman of 45), a loyal watch "dog"…and surely the girl, the loved princess, Dejah Thoris.
A “nomadic race”…whose only thoughts are for "the today". A race of brutes. Five million martians.
Carter discovers his new abilities on the surface of Mars: he’s capable of super human leaps: 30 feet into the air. Even Martians are astounded. He noticed some buildings are “out of proportions” when compared to these green Martians; maybe another civilization, a different one, had been responsible for its construction.
But there are other types: the colossal ape-like white creatures:”hairless except a bristly hair upon its head”. And more.
The two Martian moons are closer than ours; so nights are different; if both moons visible, than light,...if not, total darknesss.
Nights are cold, on Mars.
So much has been written on these stories of Burroughs; from so many angles…. Recently, I’ve read this political (Marxist) view (by a blogger): "the politics of A Princess of Mars are rooted in a 19th century colonialism that more accurately reflects the wishes and problems of modern imperialism"*.
I think you can read politics in (to) Burroughs. His aim will always go far beyond that; because imagination needs no politics. When I was a kid,my eyes didn't read politics; I was mesmerized, ...not by ideology, certainly not.
Matthew is a very rich lawyer; he’s rotten rich mainly because of heritages he got which date back to his grand grandmother pA story set in Hawaii.
Matthew is a very rich lawyer; he’s rotten rich mainly because of heritages he got which date back to his grand grandmother princess Kekipi: she married a banker who was her assets manager. Now, Matt has plenty of properties to sell; and yet, he prefers using the money of his own job: ”I don’t like heritages”.
She was seven years younger than Matt. They met 20 years ago. They got married, they had two daughters ….but now she’s in a hospital, in a coma; she had a racing-boat accident. Joanie was alcoholic; she liked motorbikes…and racing-boats.
Scottie is a 10 year old “crazy” girl; her older sister (Alex), once posing as model for bikinis and alike stuff, had drugs problems….and alcohol issues too.
The book describes with great detail those few days (and memories) in and out of hospital visits. Now, it’s all about being (and learning TO BE) a competent father with Scottie and Alex. Being able to learn from nanny Esther about the minutiae of foods and mobile phone messaging slang... and all kinds of habits of irreverent Scottie.
For some time Matt feels awkward, an “ass-hole father”. While in hospital he looks at his wife and thinks:” I need you”. How to say farewell to a person he loves so much?, how to explain it to 10 year old Scottie? Alex had been away in a special school due to her drugs problem; Matt brings her back home; she brings along her boyfriend.
They receive updates from doctor Johnston: mother signs are getting worse. It’s an irreversible coma. Matt gets to know her life will: no life-supporting systems: no life-preserving machines.
Alex had drug problems…and she’s the one who’ll tell father that Joanie was having a love affair. Things get really complicated for Matt. He cries for the first time. He’s got to reformulate his feeling world.
These are very tense (few) days for Matt and the girls.
The book is an inside-his-troubled-mind journey/window.
Trials,coping with death ….and life.
A fine job by writer Kaui Hart Hemmings. No wonder the book turned into a movie.