This is a sort of amalgam post in which I discuss three texts that will not be directly considered for my comps questions. Rather, in the cases of Covino and Gardner, they will serve as supportive or framing pieces for other texts. In the case of Freud, I have determined that he will not be useful to my interests.
Sigmund Freud’s The Wolfman and Other Cases
“In any case it is fair to say that the analysis of childhood neuroses can lay claim to a particularly high degree of theoretical interest. Such analyses do about the same for the proper understanding of adult neurosis as children’s dreams do for the dreams of adults. Not that they can be seen through more easily or are composed of fewer elements; the difficulty of empathizing with the inner life [Seelenleben] of the child in fact makes such dreams particularly hard work for the physician. However, they dispense with so many of the subsequent layers that the essential elements of the neurosis emerge with unmistakable clarity.”
— Sigmund Freud
In the interest of politic fairness, I must acknowledge that Freud was a pioneer of psychoanalysis and undoubtedly contributed to the understanding of human thought in ways that vastly eclipse my comprehension. To that end, my hat is off. Beyond that, I must note that having reviewed several case studies of Freud’s, I consider his work quite entirely useless to my own. Freud’s obsessions with sexuality–particularly a preoccupation with the phallus–are, with the benefit of rational hindsight, hilariously silly at best and deeply insulting at worst. The most memorable item I gleaned from this volume was Freud’s discussion of whether a small boy’s fear of large animals might be due to his envy of the size of their penises. I cannot conceive of any comment that would remain kind, so I will simply note that I have elected to omit Freud from my future studies.
Howard E. Gardner’s Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
“And so it becomes necessary to say, once and for all, that there is not, and there can never be, a single irrefutable and universally accepted list of human intelligences. There will never be a master list of three, seven, or three hundred intelligences that can be endorsed by all investigators. We may come closer to this goal if we stick to only one level of analysis (say, neurophysiology) or one goal (say, prediction of success at a technical university); but if we are striving for a decisive theory of the range of human intelligence, we can expect never to complete our search.”
— Howard E. Gardner
This work by Gardner is fascinating, in-depth, deeply invested in the project of re-examining intelligence, and admittedly a bit dated. Much of it strays too deeply into the neurological and sociological for my own use, but as a now-classic text on the nature of multiple intelligences, it is a useful building block for my own arguments about the importance of meeting students on their own intellectual turf–it is likely that connections will be forthcoming with other texts, much as obvious resonance exists with previous texts I have reviewed.
William A. Covino’s The Art of Wondering: A Revisionist Return to the History of Rhetoric
“Any reading of the history of rhetoric–which is, more precisely, a history of the texts of rhetorical theory–is partial; not only insofar as certain ‘episodes’ are excluded, but also because the historian, the narrator, is always interpreting, bringing to the writing a special narrow-mindedness. You are warned, then, to read these chapters as provocation rather than information, as interruptions in the long-standing conversation about the elements of rhetoric.”
–William A. Covino
Covino is, for me, an opposite to Freud–at least in terms of my own affective experience with reading his work. I enjoy Covino’s work, from the voice of his prose to the ideas he suggests, quite thoroughly. In the case of this text, I do not believe that its serves particularly as a staple of my list, but it exists as a contextualization of several other pieces of rather canonical rhetorical theory that I have included–Aristotle, Cicero, Plato, etc. Covino provides for me a perspective on those texts, illuminating them and broadening my understanding, as well as the applicability of the texts to my own thinking and work. I will consider this particular volume, therefore, a secondary but useful text. Rather than attempt to frame it specifically in response to my questions, I will use it when considering responses for those texts it discusses.
Covino, William A. The Art of Wondering: A Revisionist Return to the History of Rhetoric. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1988. Print.
Freud, Sigmund. The Wolfman and Other Cases. 1940. Trans. Louise Adey Huish. New York: Penguin, 2002. Kindle edition.
Gardner, Howard E. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. 1983. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Kindle edition.
Featured Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.