In his late teens and early twenties Erik H. Erikson, the widely acclaimed psychoanalyst and developmental theorist, aspired to be an artist. In Erik Erikson’s Verbal Portraits: Luther, Gandhi, Einstein, Jesus, Donald Capps contends that Erikson’s portraits of respective historical figures not only reflect his artistic gifts but also make a highly creative contribution to psychoanalytic discourse. Moreover, his verbal portraits are vivid and compelling representations of his multifaceted conception of identity. His emphasis on the formative role of the mutual recognition of mother and infant in human portraiture, the importance he attaches to the Self and the sense of “I,” and his use of psychoanalysis as a means to experience the living presence of noteworthy historical figures are especially noted. In addition to his portraits of the four men, his brief verbal portrait of Ruth Benedict is presented, and his personal identification with a fifteenth century painting of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is also explored.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; September 2014
- ISBN 9781442241534
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
- Title: Erik Erikson’s Verbal Portraits
- Author: Donald Capps
Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
In The Press
Erik Erikson put the word ‘identity’ on the map of modern vocabulary, in part, no doubt, because he had his own struggles with identity. Having given up his dream of becoming an artist, Erikson reclaimed this aspect of himself by means of ‘verbal portraits.’ In this remarkable book, Capps demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Erikson’s writings by exploring the life histories of inspiring individuals and, in so doing, inspires us all.
About The Author
Donald Capps, PhD, is emeritus professor of pastoral theology and adjunct professor at Princeton Theological Seminary.