- The thesis of Inventing Mark Twain by Andrew Hoffman is that Samuel Langhorne Clemens invented Mark Twain and played him his whole life. From the Prologue of the book:
Because he appears to be alive, Twain grows and changes so frequently that writing a biography of him is like writing a biography of a liar. We will never know the complete truth about Mark Twain, because he changes shape as we study him. A fool, a tyrant, a philosopher, a humorist, an unschooled literary genius, a friend to revolution, a confidant of presidents and industrialists, an insatiable and sophisticated reader of history, a glad-hander, a sham, a self-destructive narcissist: Each of these epithets describes Mark Twain; their contradictions create a persona that is at once both larger and smaller than a real person. (pp. ix-x)
. . . .
In writing this study of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, I encountered one fundamental, over-reaching problem. Traditional interpretation of the man dictated that Clemens had such a large personality that he needed a separate persona in which to carry it. That premise seemed to me fundamentally false. Anyone who has ever performed, whether on the stage or at a dinner party, knows that maintaining a false persona places a huge strain on one's ego. The larger the ego, in fact, the more difficult it becomes to sustain the invention. To live as someone else, to fully inhabit an invented self, the root self must have no ego, or at least one so handicapped by insecurities that it might as well not exist. It became clear to me that Sam Clemens could play Mark Twain to such success for so long only because his fundamental self was so unstable and uncertain. This hollowness at Clemens' core resulted from the odd configuration of his childhood: his very early acceptance of responsibility for the deaths of loved ones; his flighty mother; his distant but demanding father, whose death as young Clemens entered adolescence determined much of his adult identity. Later experiences in his life reinforced his perception that it was the image of the person that truly mattered in life, and not the essential identity, which was likely to be callow, cruel, frightened, and selfish. His faith in the sharp separation between image and identity resulted in the nearly seamless presentation of an invented self named Mark Twain.
In my view, the greatest of all Clemens' accomplishments is his invention of Mark Twain. Mark Twain was, and still is, a nearly complete human being, constructed on a scale at the very edge of imagination. Rather than make of Mark Twain someone entirely distinct from Sam Clemens, Clemens made him a near match. When Mark Twain "remembered" something from his childhood, he remembered Sam Clemens' childhood; he had no childhood of his own, since he arrived in the world full-grown at age twenty-seven. If Clemens memory did not suit Mark Twain's persona, Clemens re-created it, "remembering" something that had happened differently. He became two people occupying the same body: the brilliant, though acerbic, public man of letters known as Mark Twain; and the cowed, uncertain, and underdeveloped boy-man Sam Clemens. His financial success, both as Mark Twain and through marriage, necessitated another invented persona, that of a Victorian literary gentleman known as S. L. Clemens, a more appropriate alter ego for Mark Twain than was Sam Clemens. Installed in a mansion in New England's most fashionable suburb, Nook Farm, now part of Hartford, Connecticut, S. L. Clemens hosted dinner parties and young people's soirees, raised funds for charities, and overall lived a life for which neither his own childhood nor his success as a writer and performer had prepared him. He invented S. L. Clemens to help him cope with the obligations of an unfamiliar world to which Mark Twain bought his admission. (pp. xii-xiii)
- Ross Baird's Review: Inventing Mark Twain
[A]lmost every action in the life of Sam Clemens reflects the total insecurity and struggle that Sam had as an individual. Hoffman writes that popular opinion is that Sam invented Mark Twain because his own ego was too large to fit one persona; Hoffman strongly disagrees. To completely create a person's image (in Sam's case, two new people), one must either have no ego at all or be so completely insecure with their "real" self that they can completely occupy a new one. Sam's insecurity, Hoffman elaborates, was the force behind all of his writings and actions.
- Jacobson, Marcia Ann (1994). "Mark Twain." Being a Boy Again: Autobiography and the American Boy Book. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
- Wang, Zheng : Madonna Digest [via Google]
In her canny way Madonna realized that in this day and age success results less often from imposing a spectacular figure on the public than from erecting a screen upon which the public can project its own internal movies. So she invented herself as a mutable being, a container for a multiplicity of images. (141)
- Luc Sante, Desperately seeking Madonna
In Mothers of Psychoanalysis : Helen Deutsch, Karen Horney, Anna Freud, and Melanie Klein, Janet Sayers (pp. 22-81) identifies the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Helene Deutsch, very well:
Deutsch's long interest in maternal identification stemming from her own mothering now culminated in the development of psychoanalysis for which she is best remembered by analysts - her January 1934 account of 'as if' identity, or 'narcissistic personality disorder' as it is now termed in the USA. (pp. 54-55)
In a 1966 essay in honour of ego psychologist Heinz Hartmann, she again dwelt on narcissism, of which she herself was accused as always 'wanting to be the centre of attention' while sarcastically putting others down. (pg. 78)
In her autobiography she had written:
I see three distinct upheavals in my life: liberation from the tyranny of my mother; the revelation of socialism; and my release from the chains of the unconscious...In each of these revolutions I was inspired and aided by a man - my father, Herman Lieberman, and lastly Freud.
Deutsch's seeming need to preserve her narcissism through fleeing identification with her mother for her father, Lieberman and Freud led her to be very cautious in using her mothering experience to go beyond the latter's work. Indeed, there was a split in her 'between her political attitudes and her super-conservative adulation of Freud'. In a sense she used her mothering experience simply to spell out the effects on women's psychology of the repudiation of femininity Freud had described - a repudiation now recognized to be an effect of women's social subordination. Her abhorrence of her mother also led to a rather one-sided, negative, and static equation of mothering and femininity with passivity and masochism. Nor, unlike Horney and Klein, did she produce a comprehensive theoretical development of Freud's work. Nevertheless, as I have sought to show, she used her own and her patients' mothering experience to go well beyond his ideas. In doing so she provided a wealth of detailed clinical illustration of the maternal as well as the patriarchal determinants of women's and men's psychology. The result was the foundation of today's psychoanalytic concern with understanding and treating the injuries to self-esteem - the narcissistic personality disorders - suffered by men as well as women as a result of the often fractured maternal and parental identification Deutsch knew so well from her own case. (pg. 81)
Sayers, Janet (1991). Mothers of Psychoanalysis : Helen Deutsch, Karen Horney, Anna Freud, and Melanie Klein. New York: W. W. Norton
Helene Deutsch: A Psychoanalyst's Life
Perhaps Deutsch's most significant clinical insight was her depiction of the "as if' personality, the individual character type that populates what Christopher Lasch calls the "culture of narcissism.' Intellectually gifted and productive, their work is "formally good but totally devoid of originality.' In relations with others they demonstrate intense warmth and love, yet "something is chillingly missing.' They "behave as if they possessed a fully felt emotional life.' Such a compelling portrait of what must be the archetypal yuppie character disorder sprang directly from Deutsch's own thinly disguised self-doubts. Although her work was a "sacred devotion,' it did not allow her to feel complete. "I am so much like a mere shadow,' she wrote to her husband, Felix, in 1914, "so far estranged from myself, like a lethargic instrument of nature, soul-less and unsublimated, in fear for the future and longing for the past, just wandering about.'
George A. Kelly
- ECOLOGY OF MIND George A. Kelly
A good deal is said these days about being oneself. It is supposed to be
healthy to be oneself. While it is a little hard for me to
understand how one could be anything else, I suppose what is
meant is that one should not strive to become anything other than
what he is. This strikes me as a very dull way of living; in fact, I would be inclined to argue that all of us would be better
off if we set out to be something other than what we are. Well,
I�m not so sure we would all be better off - perhaps it would be more accurate to say life
would be a lot more interesting. - George Kelly.
- George Kelly - Dr. C. George Boeree.
So people -- ordinary people -- are scientists, too. The[y] have constructions
of their reality, like scientists have theories. They have anticipations
or expectations, like scientists have hypotheses. They engage in behaviors
that test those expectations, like scientists do experiments. They improve
their understandings of reality on the bases of their experiences, like
scientists adjust their theories to fit the facts. From this metaphor comes
Kelly's entire theory.
- The Basic Postulate and 11 Corollaries of Kelly's Personal Construct Theory
"A person's processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which he anticipates events" - George A. Kelly.
- Personal Construct Psychology
Personal construct psychology is a
constructivist system of psychology developed by George
Kelly and expounded in his
two-volume work: Principles of Personal Construct Psychology (New
York: Norton, 1955).
- Kelly's "Geometry of Psychological Space" and its Significance
for Cognitive Modeling
- Developments in computing allow his vision of the computer simulation of
human personality as an expression, and a test, of his theory be realized.
- Personal construct psychology provides foundations for cognitive science
and artificial intelligence that are consistent with current positions in these
disciplines, but supplies an integrative framework that is currently lacking.
- Tools based on personal construct psychology are already having an
on the development of computer-based knowledge systems.
Bibliography from The New York Review of Books
The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy (2002)
Logical Properties: Identity, Existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth (2001)
The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World (1999)
Knowledge and Reality: Selected Essays (1999)
The Character of Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (1997)
Minds and Bodies: Philosophers and Their Ideas (1997)
Ethics, Evil, and Fiction (1997)
Problems in Philosophy: The Limits of Inquiry (1993)
Moral Literacy, Or, How to Do the Right Thing (1992)
The Problem of Consciousness: Essays Toward a Resolution (1991)
Mental Content (1989)
Wittgenstein on Meaning: An Interpretation and Evaluation (1984)
The Subjective View: Secondary Qualities and Indexical Thoughts (1983)
The Wizard of Oz
Actor: Michael Douglas
Michael J. Fox
- Yahoo! Full Coverage:Michael J. Fox Leaving 'Spin City'
Spin City star Michael J. Fox said Tuesday he is leaving the ABC sitcom, but not show business, because of his fight against Parkinson's disease. Fox, who revealed in 1998 that he suffers from the degenerative neurological disorder, said this will be his last season with the highly rated series.
Phenomenological study of everyday narcissism
- Narcissistic Pathology of Everyday Life: The Denial of Remorse and Gratitude [51k]
[W]e shall start with the premise
that the organizing task of the various narcissistic defenses is the preservation
of what has usually been called the grandiose self (after Kohut, 1971),
and then go on to portray in concrete terms what kinds of activities that
preservation effort entails. In particular, we shall focus on the apparent
inability of the person who needs to protect an internal sense of grandiosity
either to apologize (i.e., to express genuine remorse) or to thank (i.e.,
to express genuine gratitude). We shall then depict a number of defensive
maneuvers that a narcissistically motivated person may use in lieu of expressing
remorse or gratitude, and comment on the typical effects that these operations
have on the objects in such a person's world....
seems to be in all of us a disposition not to acknowledge how much we need
others. Similarly, we all seem to have some fundamental discomfort admitting
to mistakes and failures. The ancient Greek notion of hubris refers to these
human propensities, as does the Christian concept of the sin of pride. For
the purpose of this essay, the aspects of the grandiose self that we wish
to emphasize includes its being without need and without sin. A transaction
will be considered as essentially narcissistic insofar as its main goal
seems to be the shoring up of a sinless, needless self-concept. There follow
some examples of everyday behavior suggesting the unconscious operation
of a grandiose self-representation, followed by a discussion of everyday-life
pathology around apologizing and thanking.
- Resources for the Study of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Berman, Jeffrey. "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Narcissus," Narcissism and the Novel. New York : New York University Press, 1990.
- Illusions and Reality in The Great Gatsby - Robbie Jones. [student paper]
From one of the works cited (Mitchell, pg. 61) in Jones's paper:
A clinical analysis of Jay Gatsby's personality shows that he is a pathological narcissist, observes Giles Mitchell, professor of English at the University of North Texas. The themes of perfection and omnipotence in Gatsby's character are classic symptoms of narcissism, in which the "ego-ideal" has become inflated and destructive. Gatsby's grandiose lies, poor sense of reality, sense of entitlement, and exploitive treatment of others--particularly women--offer further evidence for this theory and help explain why he has lost the will to live by the end of the novel.
Mitchell, Giles. Gatsby Is a Pathological Narcissist. Readings On The Great Gatsby. Ed. Bruno Leone, et al. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 61-67.
Clare Booth Luce
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