Since Freud invoked the Oedipus story to exemplify and verify his findings with patients and in analyzing his own dreams, psychoanalysis and literature have had a fruitful if often distrusting relationship. Literature and theory have increased enormously in range. Education no longer insists upon classics of Western literature as building blocks for understanding. Yet the tie between psychoanalysis and imaginative literature remains vital, and the two disciplines can interact vibrantly, as these selected essays of recent years from the International Journal of Psychoanalysis handsomely show. They explore overlaps of literary experience and psychoanalytic process, both of which activate our capacity to 'see feelingly', which is to say, provide occasion for a structured richness of knowing with a felt tie to truth. Both enhance consciousness, expand the emotions, undermine unconscious closures, and provoke thought; and it is those very qualities that inform their illustrative and explanatory usefulness to one another.
Glen O. Gabbard MD is Brown Foundation Chair of Psychoanalysis, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Director of the Baylor Psychiatry Clinic at Baylor College of Medecine in Houston, Texas. He is also Training and Supervising Analyst at the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute in Houston. He is further a Joint Editor-In-Chief of the 'International Journal of Psychoanalysis' between 2001 and 2007. Paul Williams is a training and supervising analyst with The British Psychoanalytical Society and a member of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He was a consultant psychotherapist in the British National Health Service, retiring in 2010. From 2001-2007 he was Joint Editor-in-Chief, with Glen O. Gabbard, of the 'International Journal of Psychoanalysis'. He has published widely on the subject of severe disturbance. He lives and practises in Hampshire, UK.