Before Words

Psychoanalytic listening to the unsaid through the medium of art

By Antonio Di Benedetto

Contributions by: Giuseppina Antinucci

Psychoanalysis has continuously been applied to the exploration of creativity and artistic genius, but up to now, this has not produced its own systematic body of knowledge. The traditional psychoanalytic approach to art is to attempt to decode it, in order to capture its hidden meaning. But in this book, the author explains that it is through the arts that we discover important aspects of ourselves. Antonio Di Benedetto argues for a completely new approach. By employing analytic receptivity to listen to the aesthetic object and what it has to say, art becomes the interpretative key instead. Furthermore, the author shows how the arts can inspire psychoanalysis, helping it to recover its intuitive and poetic roots and providing forms, images and sounds to best represent fleeting introspective moments and pre-verbal insight. To illustrate these pre-symbolic aspects of introspection, the author examines well-known aesthetic masterpieces: the frescoes of the Loggia of Psyche in Rome, Mozart's The Magic Flute, and Six Characters in Search of an Author, by L. Pirandello. Of these, he considers music to be the artistic form best suited to refine the analyst's capacity to listen to the affective component of unconscious communication.

256 pages

Publication Date: 11/1/2005
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781853437496