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Solitude: A Return to the Self
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Anthony Storr was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and an Emeritus Fellow of Green College, Oxford. He was the author of numerous books, including The Integrity of the Personality, The Dynamics of Creation, The Essential Jung, and The Art of Psychotherapy. Dr. Storr died in 2001.

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Storr's celebration of creative solitude is a counterbalance to the chorus of self-help books extollng interpersonal relationships. This British psychotherapist links the capacity to be alone with self-discovery and becoming aware of one's deepest needs and feelings. Taking Goya, Kafka, Trollope, Kant and others as examples, he shows that solitude, far from being a flight from interpersonal contact, is an inveterate need, at least in some people. He analyzes extroverts who become depressives by losing themselves in the outer world and argues that fantasy is not inherently escapist, as Freud contended. The Jungian process of ``individuation,'' he demonstrates, sheds light on the mature artistic forays of Beethoven, Brahms and Henry James. People need a sense of participating in a larger community than either family or friends can provide, and Storr's message is that the solitary's search for wholeness is a valid avenue to relatedness. (July)

British psychotherapist Storr takes issue with the predominate view in the West that intimate relationships are the exclusive source and measure of mental health and personal satisfaction. In this far-reaching work, he considers the impact of voluntary as well as enforced solitude, particularly on creative persons such as composers, writers, and philosophers. Their efforts take place chiefly in solitude, and Storr argues that solitude has restorative value for the ordinary individual as well. His intriguing analyses of figures such as Kafka, Kipling, Beatrix Potter, Beethoven, Newton, and Wittgenstein offer compelling evidence that individuals may achieve happiness and stability through their work, even when their interpersonal relationships are inferior. A book of substance; highly recommended. Cynthia Widmer, Williamstown, Mass.

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