An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
6
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Diane Arbus was one of the most brilliant and revered photographers in the history of American art. Her portraits, in stark black and white, seemed to reveal the psychological truths of their subjects. But after she committed suicide at the age of 48, the presumed chaos and darkness of her own inner life became, for many viewers, inextricable from her work.
In the spirit of Janet Malcolm's classic examination of Sylvia Plath, The Silent Woman, William Todd Schultz's An Emergency in Slow Motion reveals the creative and personal struggles of Diane Arbus. Schultz, an expert in personality psychology, veers from traditional biography to look at Arbus's life through the prism of five central mysteries: her childhood, her outcast affinity, her sexuality, her time in therapy, and her suicide. He seeks not to give Arbus some definitive diagnosis, but to ponder some of the private motives behind her public works and acts. In this approach, Schultz not only goes deeper into her life than any previous writing, but provides a template to think about the creative life in general.
Schultz's careful analysis is informed, in part, by the recent release of Arbus's writing by her estate, as well as interviews with Arbus's last therapist. An Emergency in Slow Motion combines new revelations and breathtaking insights into a must-read psychobiography about a monumental artist -- the first new look at Arbus in 25 years.
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About the author

William Todd Schultz is a professor of psychology at Pacific University in Oregon, focusing on personality research and psychobiography. He edited and contributed to the groundbreaking Handbook of Psychobiography, and curates the book series Inner Lives, analyses of significant artists and political figures. His own book in the series, Tiny Terror, examines the life of Truman Capote. Todd Schultz blogs for Psychology Today.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Sep 6, 2011
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781608196814
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Artists, Architects, Photographers
Biography & Autobiography / General
Psychology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Truman Capote was one of the most gifted and flamboyant writers of his generation, renowned for such books as Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and his masterpiece, the nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. What has received comparatively little attention, however, is Capote's last, unfinished book, Answered Prayers, a merciless skewering of cafe society and the high-class women Capote called his "swans." When excerpts appeared he was immediately blacklisted, ruined socially, labeled a pariah. Capote recoiled--disgraced, depressed, and all but friendless. In Tiny Terror, a new volume in Oxford's Inner Lives series, William Todd Schultz sheds light on the life and works of Capote and answers the perplexing mystery--why did Capote write a book that would destroy him? Drawing on an arsenal of psychological techniques, Schultz illuminates Capote's early years in the South--a time that Capote himself described as a "snake's nest of No's"--no parents to speak of, no friends but books, no hope, no future. Out of this dark childhood emerged Capote's prominent dual life-scripts: neurotic Capote, anxious, vulnerable, hypersensitive, expecting to be hurt; and Capote the disagreeable destroyer, emotionally bulletproof, nasty, and bent on revenge. Schultz shows how Capote would strike out when he felt hurt or taken for granted, engaging in caustic feuds with Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and many other writers. And Schultz reveals how this tendency fed into Answered Prayers, an exceedingly corrosive and thinly disguised roman a clef that trashed his high-society friends. What emerges by the end of this book is a cogent, immensely insightful portrait of an artist on the edge, brilliantly but self-destructively biting the jet-set hands that fed him. Anyone interested in the inner life of one of America's most fascinating literary personalities will find this book a revelation.
This exceptionally readable and down-to-earth handbook is destined to become the definitive guide to psychobiographical research, the application of psychological theory and research to individual lives of historical importance. It brings together for the first time the world's leading psychobiographers, writing lucidly on many of the major figures of our age - from Osama Bin Laden to Elvis Presley. The first section of the book addresses the subject of how to construct an effective psychobiography. Editor William Todd Schultz introduces the field, provides valuable definitions of good and bad psychobiography, discusses an optimal structure for biographical data. Dan McAdams explores the question of what psychobiographers might learn from current research in personality psychology. Alan Elms delivers wise advice on the tricky subject of theory choice in psychobiography. William Runyan asks why Van Gogh cut off his ear, and in the process explains how one evaluates competing interpretations of the same event in a subject's life. And Kate Isaacson describes a template for use in multiple-case psychobiography. Never before has method in psychobiography been so clearly and explicitly addressed. Those just getting started in the field will find in Section One a detailed roadmap for success. The remaining sections of the book are composed of richly engaging case studies of famous artists, psychologists, and politicians. They address compelling questions such as: What are the subjective origins of photographer Diane Arbus's obsession with freaks? In what ways did the early loss of Sylvia Plath's father affect her poetry and presage her suicide? Out of what painful life experience did James Barrie drive himself to invent Peter Pan? Why did Elvis experience such difficulty singing the song "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" What accounts for Bin Laden's radicalism, Kim Jong Il's paranoia, George W. Bush's conflict with identity? Why did Freud go so disastrously astray in his analysis of Leonardo? What made psychologist Gordon Allport's meeting with Freud so pungently significant? How did the loss of his father determine major elements of Nietzsche's philosophy? These questions and many more get answered, often in surprising and incisive fashion. Additional chapters take up the lives of Harvard operationist S.S. Stevens, Erik Erikson, Edith Wharton, Saddam Hussein, Truman Capote, Kathryn Harrison, Jack Kerouac, and others. Within each case study, tips are proffered along the way as to how psychobiography can be done more cogently, more intelligently, and more valuably.
Truman Capote was one of the most gifted and flamboyant writers of his generation, renowned for such books as Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and his masterpiece, the nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. What has received comparatively little attention, however, is Capote's last, unfinished book, Answered Prayers, a merciless skewering of cafe society and the high-class women Capote called his "swans." When excerpts appeared he was immediately blacklisted, ruined socially, labeled a pariah. Capote recoiled--disgraced, depressed, and all but friendless. In Tiny Terror, a new volume in Oxford's Inner Lives series, William Todd Schultz sheds light on the life and works of Capote and answers the perplexing mystery--why did Capote write a book that would destroy him? Drawing on an arsenal of psychological techniques, Schultz illuminates Capote's early years in the South--a time that Capote himself described as a "snake's nest of No's"--no parents to speak of, no friends but books, no hope, no future. Out of this dark childhood emerged Capote's prominent dual life-scripts: neurotic Capote, anxious, vulnerable, hypersensitive, expecting to be hurt; and Capote the disagreeable destroyer, emotionally bulletproof, nasty, and bent on revenge. Schultz shows how Capote would strike out when he felt hurt or taken for granted, engaging in caustic feuds with Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and many other writers. And Schultz reveals how this tendency fed into Answered Prayers, an exceedingly corrosive and thinly disguised roman a clef that trashed his high-society friends. What emerges by the end of this book is a cogent, immensely insightful portrait of an artist on the edge, brilliantly but self-destructively biting the jet-set hands that fed him. Anyone interested in the inner life of one of America's most fascinating literary personalities will find this book a revelation.
Truman Capote was one of the most gifted and flamboyant writers of his generation, renowned for such books as Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and his masterpiece, the nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. What has received comparatively little attention, however, is Capote's last, unfinished book, Answered Prayers, a merciless skewering of cafe society and the high-class women Capote called his "swans." When excerpts appeared he was immediately blacklisted, ruined socially, labeled a pariah. Capote recoiled--disgraced, depressed, and all but friendless. In Tiny Terror, a new volume in Oxford's Inner Lives series, William Todd Schultz sheds light on the life and works of Capote and answers the perplexing mystery--why did Capote write a book that would destroy him? Drawing on an arsenal of psychological techniques, Schultz illuminates Capote's early years in the South--a time that Capote himself described as a "snake's nest of No's"--no parents to speak of, no friends but books, no hope, no future. Out of this dark childhood emerged Capote's prominent dual life-scripts: neurotic Capote, anxious, vulnerable, hypersensitive, expecting to be hurt; and Capote the disagreeable destroyer, emotionally bulletproof, nasty, and bent on revenge. Schultz shows how Capote would strike out when he felt hurt or taken for granted, engaging in caustic feuds with Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and many other writers. And Schultz reveals how this tendency fed into Answered Prayers, an exceedingly corrosive and thinly disguised roman a clef that trashed his high-society friends. What emerges by the end of this book is a cogent, immensely insightful portrait of an artist on the edge, brilliantly but self-destructively biting the jet-set hands that fed him. Anyone interested in the inner life of one of America's most fascinating literary personalities will find this book a revelation.
This exceptionally readable and down-to-earth handbook is destined to become the definitive guide to psychobiographical research, the application of psychological theory and research to individual lives of historical importance. It brings together for the first time the world's leading psychobiographers, writing lucidly on many of the major figures of our age - from Osama Bin Laden to Elvis Presley. The first section of the book addresses the subject of how to construct an effective psychobiography. Editor William Todd Schultz introduces the field, provides valuable definitions of good and bad psychobiography, discusses an optimal structure for biographical data. Dan McAdams explores the question of what psychobiographers might learn from current research in personality psychology. Alan Elms delivers wise advice on the tricky subject of theory choice in psychobiography. William Runyan asks why Van Gogh cut off his ear, and in the process explains how one evaluates competing interpretations of the same event in a subject's life. And Kate Isaacson describes a template for use in multiple-case psychobiography. Never before has method in psychobiography been so clearly and explicitly addressed. Those just getting started in the field will find in Section One a detailed roadmap for success. The remaining sections of the book are composed of richly engaging case studies of famous artists, psychologists, and politicians. They address compelling questions such as: What are the subjective origins of photographer Diane Arbus's obsession with freaks? In what ways did the early loss of Sylvia Plath's father affect her poetry and presage her suicide? Out of what painful life experience did James Barrie drive himself to invent Peter Pan? Why did Elvis experience such difficulty singing the song "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" What accounts for Bin Laden's radicalism, Kim Jong Il's paranoia, George W. Bush's conflict with identity? Why did Freud go so disastrously astray in his analysis of Leonardo? What made psychologist Gordon Allport's meeting with Freud so pungently significant? How did the loss of his father determine major elements of Nietzsche's philosophy? These questions and many more get answered, often in surprising and incisive fashion. Additional chapters take up the lives of Harvard operationist S.S. Stevens, Erik Erikson, Edith Wharton, Saddam Hussein, Truman Capote, Kathryn Harrison, Jack Kerouac, and others. Within each case study, tips are proffered along the way as to how psychobiography can be done more cogently, more intelligently, and more valuably.
This exceptionally readable and down-to-earth handbook is destined to become the definitive guide to psychobiographical research, the application of psychological theory and research to individual lives of historical importance. It brings together for the first time the world's leading psychobiographers, writing lucidly on many of the major figures of our age - from Osama Bin Laden to Elvis Presley. The first section of the book addresses the subject of how to construct an effective psychobiography. Editor William Todd Schultz introduces the field, provides valuable definitions of good and bad psychobiography, discusses an optimal structure for biographical data. Dan McAdams explores the question of what psychobiographers might learn from current research in personality psychology. Alan Elms delivers wise advice on the tricky subject of theory choice in psychobiography. William Runyan asks why Van Gogh cut off his ear, and in the process explains how one evaluates competing interpretations of the same event in a subject's life. And Kate Isaacson describes a template for use in multiple-case psychobiography. Never before has method in psychobiography been so clearly and explicitly addressed. Those just getting started in the field will find in Section One a detailed roadmap for success. The remaining sections of the book are composed of richly engaging case studies of famous artists, psychologists, and politicians. They address compelling questions such as: What are the subjective origins of photographer Diane Arbus's obsession with freaks? In what ways did the early loss of Sylvia Plath's father affect her poetry and presage her suicide? Out of what painful life experience did James Barrie drive himself to invent Peter Pan? Why did Elvis experience such difficulty singing the song "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" What accounts for Bin Laden's radicalism, Kim Jong Il's paranoia, George W. Bush's conflict with identity? Why did Freud go so disastrously astray in his analysis of Leonardo? What made psychologist Gordon Allport's meeting with Freud so pungently significant? How did the loss of his father determine major elements of Nietzsche's philosophy? These questions and many more get answered, often in surprising and incisive fashion. Additional chapters take up the lives of Harvard operationist S.S. Stevens, Erik Erikson, Edith Wharton, Saddam Hussein, Truman Capote, Kathryn Harrison, Jack Kerouac, and others. Within each case study, tips are proffered along the way as to how psychobiography can be done more cogently, more intelligently, and more valuably.
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