Frightful Stages: From the Primitive to the Therapeutic

1st Edition

Robert B. Marchesani, Mark Stern

Published July 26, 2001
Reference - 254 Pages
ISBN 9780789013668 - CAT# HW13208

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Face stage fright and self-doubt with new courage!

The experience of awe has rarely been considered by psychologists, but this extraordinary book makes up for that neglect. Frightful Stages explores all the shades of that strange emotion from reverence to terror. At its heart, awe is the condition of human suffering in situations that require you to act in all the senses of that deceptively simple word, whether on stage or off, whether in the presence of many or alone.

Frightful Stages provides a multifaceted view of the semiotics of awe. It deals with its manifestations in film, on stage, in poetry, in ordinary lives as well as in the more extraordinary ones, including Bessie Smith, Carl Van Vechten, Barbra Streisand, Federico Fellini, Thomas Merton, and John Ashbery. This unprecedented book delineates the experience of awe in moments of stage fright, performance anxiety, and everyday interpersonal relations.

Frightful Stages takes place on and off stage, before the curtain and behind, in the audience and on the screen. It explores the mysterious experience of awe in a multitude of contexts, including:
  • Thomas Merton's psychoanalytic showdown with Gregory Zilboorg
  • the chronic tensions between Apollonian reason and Dionysian instinct in myth, psychoanalysis, creation, and performance
  • the ill-fated encounter between the greatest of all blues singers and a brilliant, self-loathing literary critic
  • the moment of awe in experiential psychotherapy as seen by both the analyst and client
  • the differences and similarities between stage fright and social phobia
  • the intricate interrelationships between pernicious envy, emotional awkwardness, and fear
  • a personal diary chronicling one man's crisis of panic, anguish, and self-doubt
  • the complexities of feeling, offering, and accepting reverence in the psychotherapeutic relationship

    Frightful Stages gives clinicians and lay readers a variety of approaches from the analytic to the unanalytic, from the psychodynamic to the humanistic. It will appeal to a diverse audience, including therapists, clients, social theorists, cultural anthropologists, performers, and writers. Additionally, this book is intended to help artists deal with creative blocks, therapists cope with their own terrors, and all helping professionals understand bizarre phenomena.


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