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Marie Antoinette. The Journey. – Antonia Fraser

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Marie Antoinette: The Journey is a sympathetic 2001 biography of Queen Marie Antoinette of France, by Lady Antonia Fraser. It is the basis for the 2006 Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette. It has also been translated into French, been awarded the Enid McLeod Literary Prize, received widespread critical success and been described as “definitive” by British historian, Amanda Foreman.

Although, not being a historian myself, I would not go as far as that. However careful the book is where the author is forced to interpret,  facts being inaccessible at certain points, Antonia Fraser’s interpretations are as much just interpretations as those of Stefan Zweig’s biography have been before. It is undoubtedly a merit of hers, to never having left her personal readings mingle undecipherably with historical account and yet having synthesized a biography that is both: “definitively” touching and “definitively” worthwile historical reading.

Since 1969 Antonia Fraser has written many acclaimed historical works that have been international bestsellers. She is the recipient of many literary awards, including the Wolfson Prize for History, the Saint Louis Literary Award, and the 2000 Norton Medlicott Medal of Britain’s Historical Association. Her works include Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell, the Lord Protector, Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration, and most recently, Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King. Four highly praised books focus on women in history: The Weaker Vessel, The Warrior Queens, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Marie Antoinette: The Journey. She is the editor of The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England. Antonia Fraser is married to Harold Pinter and lives in London.
Despite attempts to label her a ‘popular historian’ or ‘lady biographer’, Antonia Fraser – whose latest book is a study of the Sun King – continues to win over critics and readers. Interview by Lucasta Miller

In her memoirs, the late Elizabeth Longford offered some vivid glimpses of her eldest daughter, Antonia, in early childhood. While she was the sort of little girl who played with dolls and wanted to be a mother when she grew up, she was also given to displays of fearlessness and determination: aged three, she ran in from the garden to inform her disbelieving elders that she had killed a snake. On investigation, a dead viper was discovered in the sandpit: she had despatched it with her spade.

Both the maternal instinct and the determination lasted into adulthood. As well as having six children in 10 years (with her first husband, Hugh Fraser), she has written or edited more than 30 books. Yet Antonia Fraser is not at all self-idealising in this respect: “I have to say, I’m the reverse of Superwoman – my children would certainly say that I wasn’t made to cook! I don’t know how I did it; if I knew, I’d bottle it. All I remember about that time is the exhaustion. I completely understand anyone who gives up her career for her children, but my temperament needed something else to think about. For three hours a day, nine till 12, I used to slam the door, and I had this notice, ‘Nobody allowed’. They could only come in if they broke a leg, and none of them ever did.”

Fraser describes herself as a “historical biographer”. Her subjects have included Charles II, Henry VIII’s six wives, the gunpowder plotters and Marie Antoinette (her book is the basis for Sofia Coppola’s latest film, soon to be released in this country). Her new work, Love and Louis XIV, is an insightful study of the Sun King, his wives, mistresses and mother (his Oedipus complex was prodigious), tracing the development of his psychology within the court culture of the time.

What her subjects have in common is that they all died long ago. Dealing with individuals at such historical distance, is it possible, or even desirable, to attempt empathy with them? Fraser believes both in the universality of emotional experience and in the importance of recognising cultural differences. The fascination, for her, lies in reconciling the two. The only time she wrote about a living subject – Margaret Thatcher, who appeared in her biographical anthology The Warrior Queens – it felt “odd”.

Fraser often speaks of her husband, the playwright Harold Pinter (whom she met in 1975 and married in 1980, after their respective divorces), as her “first reader”, which is intriguing as their literary sensibilities are so different: she writes big books; his plays are famous for their long pauses and verbal economy.

For Fraser, as for many women authors with families – one thinks of the great Victorian novelist and matriarch Elizabeth Gaskell – writing has represented a creative space. It has offered her emotional sustenance in times of need, such as four years ago when both her parents died and Pinter was diagnosed with cancer. “Mercifully, for a few hours a day”, she says, work allowed her to “shut off”. “It was the only time I was happy. I was very lucky to have it.” Since then, Pinter’s health has improved dramatically, and he is planning to perform in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape later this year.

Writing, it seems, has always been something Fraser has needed to do. She learnt to read early, taught by her mother from home-made illustrated books. By the age of five she could read a Times leader out loud. She soon began writing: poetry and Shakespearean verse dramas (“best forgotten”) and romantic fiction. She was much amused recently, when clearing out a drawer, to rediscover a story with an equestrian theme about a hero and heroine called Lucy and Rollo. “It ended with them saying, ‘Shall our reins mingle for the rest of our lives’!”

Fraser’s aristocratic background – her father, Frank Pakenham, became the Earl of Longford after the death of his brother in 1961 – is well known. But it is perhaps more significant to her development as a writer that she was born, in 1932, into the intellectual elite of the day. During her childhood, her father was a politics don at Christ Church, Oxford, and her parents’ friends included the finest minds of their generation: Isaiah Berlin, Maurice Bowra, David Cecil. In 1941 her father became personal assistant to Beveridge, working on the famous report that led to the creation of the welfare state, and he subsequently held ministerial posts in the Attlee government.

Her father had joined the Labour party in 1936, converted from conservatism by his wife, Elizabeth. Her mother’s ambition to have a large family (she had eight children) did not stop her from standing as a Labour candidate in more than one general election. It wasn’t until her fifties that she transformed herself into a writer, her most significant work being a life of Queen Victoria. If her example was enabling to her daughter, Fraser has had a similar effect on her own children: two of her daughters, Rebecca and Flora, are biographers.

Fraser feels the intellectually charged atmosphere of her upbringing may have made her take university life less seriously, and more confident about being a historian outside the academy. She read history at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and describes herself then as “pleasure-loving”. Afterwards she got a job in publishing, working for George Weidenfeld, who gave her some of her first opportunities to write, including children’s history books on King Arthur and Robin Hood. Half a century on, she is still published by Weidenfeld. Marriage at 24 to the Conservative MP Hugh Fraser, followed by successive pregnancies and her brood of children, did not prevent her publishing journalistic work (a joint venture with her mother and sisters in 1960 was a book of Nigella-ish advice on how to give a children’s party). Yet it was not until 1969 that she brought out the book that made her name.

Written while her youngest child, Orlando, was in his cradle, Mary Queen of Scots was an instant bestseller and prize-winner, the success of which “stunned” its author. Fraser’s affection for the book is tempered by the feeling that its prose is “purpler” than she would now allow. Yet the book’s vigour and narrative drive have kept readers buying it.

While some have tried to pigeonhole Fraser as a “popular historian” or a “lady biographer”, her scholarship has always confounded her critics. The distinguished academic historian Hugh Thomas has described her as “rigorous with her sources and accomplished with her prose”. She is, for example, committed to reading sources in their original languages. A few years ago, she spent 12 months researching a history of the Battle of the Boyne. Personal stresses led her to lay it aside (or “bin the Boyne”, as she puts it), but she had already started learning Irish for the project (she was going to practise speaking it with her novelist friend Edna O’Brien).

That was the only time Fraser has given up on a book. After Mary Queen of Scots came a biography of Oliver Cromwell. The historian AL Rowse praised it as a “fine achievement of scholarship and writing” that succeeded in humanising its subject. Fraser feels, however, that she hadn’t yet become confident enough to leave anything out. She believes that her move sideways into crime fiction – she published the first of her Jemima Shore novels in 1977 – had a positive effect on her non-fiction work, in terms of narrative control and concision. She has been inspired by Walter Scott’s great historical novel Kenilworth, the historian Macaulay and the biographer Lytton Strachey. History, for her, isn’t simply collecting evidence, but shaping it into a narrative. She will plot out an entire book in detail before writing the first draft, which she does without notes in order not to impede the narrative flow. Only then will she go back and painstakingly check the facts.

She found The Weaker Vessel, perhaps her most original and ambitious book, very challenging from a structural point of view. Published in 1983, it was a ground-breaking study of women in the 17th century which drew on a wide range of sources to reconstruct the experience and sensibilities of the period. She had begun to be interested in women’s role in the civil war – defending castles, preaching radical sermons – when working on Cromwell. Yet when she looked up “women” in indexes, she drew a blank. Such silence sparked her curiosity, and she began investigating the period’s women from midwives to bluestockings, prostitutes to great ladies. The resulting book wove together personal and public sources – including diaries and letters, poetry and pamphlets, sermons and other contemporary commentaries on gender, from the legal to the gynaecological – and presented its argument as objective history rather than feminist tract.

“It was a very difficult book to do because people didn’t do books like that then. I don’t think I could have written it without Keith Thomas’s Religion and the Decline of Magic, which showed me that history could be written another way. There was no given narrative. No heads getting chopped off. On the first day of writing, I remember sitting down and thinking, ‘What have I got myself into?’ When Harold said, ‘How did it go?’, I just thought, ‘Help! I’ve got 100 years, 51 per cent of the population, no structure.’ I had a sort of constructive breakdown and then told myself I had to get over it. If there was no structure, I would have to make it myself.”

What will future historians make of Fraser? Given her experiences at the heart of the political, social and intellectual establishments, her memoirs would undoubtedly be fascinating. She has, she says, her “smoking gun”, the diaries she has been keeping since 1968, which she describes as “a record and also a kind of solace”. Yet she feels torn. “I wouldn’t like to tell the truth about every aspect of my life,”she says. “And yet, as a historian, I couldn’t bear not to tell the truth.”


Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott

Lays of Ancient Rome; History of England by Thomas Macaulay

Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey

Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas

Defeat of the Spanish Armada by Garrett Mattingley

The Guardian – Saturday September 2, 2006

Written by huehueteotl

June 12, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Essays. Erste Reihe. (Taschenbuch) Ralph W. Emerson: Essays. Erste Reihe.

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Essays. Erste Reihe. (Taschenbuch) ralph_waldo_emerson1.jpg
von Ralph W. Emerson (Autor)

Something between Plotinus and Nietzsche, Wilde and Gracian. Painfully idealistic and ruthlessly egoistical – growing pathetic quickly, while lacking Wilde’s wit about it all. Too bad!

On the other hand-side, he wrote at a time when America was in danger to be completely Americanised and somehow tried to mobilise the reality of the heart against a reality of the machine. Out of real life he tried to develop a higher and richer outlook on the world. This is, perhaps, something that makes him worth reading — his unique physiognomy. He is American writing for a nation of self-made men, a philosopher of the New World. He looks at every issue with the healthy, straightforward view of a man who is not intimidated by a sage tradition and someone who thinks for the young.

Anyway, whether or not agreeing with everything that Emerson says, and I’m not sure I do, most people would agree that he is seeking truth and that our world would be a much better place if everyone tried as hard as he did to make it a better place.



Every reform was once a private opinion.



A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.


I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformity and consistency. Let the words be gazetted and ridiculous henceforward.

Language is fossil poetry.



In a virtuous action, I properly am; in a virtuous act, I add to the world; I plant into deserts conquered from Chaos and Nothing, and see the darkness receding on the limits of the horizon.Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.

Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim.



Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.

The angels are so enamored of the language that is spoken in heaven, that they will not distort their lips with the hissing and unmusical dialects of men, but speak their own, whether there be any who understand it or not.

I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.


Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all of the utilities of the world. These gay natures contrast with the somewhat stern countenance of ordinary nature: they are like music heard out of a work-house.

Murder in the murderer is no such ruinous thought as poets and romancers will have it; it does not unsettle him, or fright him from his ordinary notice of trifles: it is an act quite easy to be contemplated, but in its sequel, it turns out to be a horrible jangle and confounding of all relations. As men’s prayers are a disease of the will so are their creeds a disease of the intellect.


Magic and all that is ascribed to it is a deep presentiment of the powers of science.

Our life is not so much threatened as our perception. Ghostlike we glide through nature, and should not know our place again.

Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.


In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.




Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.


Written by huehueteotl

May 18, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Posted in Movies/Books, Music

Marie Antoinette (2006)

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Marie Antoinette



Director: Sofia Coppola


Writer (WGA): Sofia Coppola (written by)


Release Date: 2 November 2006 (Germany)


Tagline: Let Them Eat Cake


Plot Outline: The retelling of France’s iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen and ultimately the fall of Versailles. more


Plot Keywords: Childbirth / Birth / Fireworks / Costume Drama / 1700s more


Awards: Won Oscar. Another 6 wins & 9 nominations more


Today the general view among historians is that Louis XVI was conscientious and well-meaning, although shy and awkward and not endowed with any great force of intellect or personality, and that Marie Antoinette, although frivolous and extravagant, was far from being the monster of popular legend. Indeed, she had some positive qualities- she was, for example, a loyal friend and a devoted mother to her children. That is precisely the picture of the Royal couple which the film portrays.

The film starts with the marriage of the fourteen year old princess to the French Dauphin as part of a diplomatic initiative to cement the alliance between France and Austria. It then follows her life at Versailles- her frustration with Court protocol, her quarrels with Louis XV’s mistress Madame du Barry, the accession of her husband as King upon the death of his grandfather, her struggle to produce an heir and the eventual birth of her children. The film ends with the outbreak of the French Revolution, but does not depict the events leading up to Antoinette’s death on the guillotine. (When the Royal couple drive off in a coach at the end of the film they are not, as some reviewers have assumed, going to their deaths- they are being taken to Paris where it is hoped they will reign as constitutional monarchs). The one controversial element is the assertion- not supported by all historians- that she had an adulterous affair with the Swedish Count Fersen.

Had the Revolution never happened, the French would today doubtlessly regard Marie Antoinette in much the same way as the British regard her contemporary Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz – that is to say for most of the time they would not think of her at all, and when they did it would be as a name from a half-remembered history lesson, the consort of one of their country’s duller kings. Now, with the actual course of history, unbroken interest ist turned towards Marie Antoinette as the Queen who lost her life at the hands of the revolutionaries, and any biography of her, filmed or otherwise, is incomplete if it does not attempt to analyse why the Revolution broke out or why a section of the French population had come to detest their Royal family to such an extent that they were prepared to acquiesce in their execution. This is somewhat missing in the movie. There are occasional references to food shortages, or to people’s discontent at Royal extravagance and at involvement in the War of American Independence (highly unpopular in France), but these are never fully integrated into the story. The only time we see the ordinary people it is as an angry mob outside the gates of Versailles.

It appears to me, that Sofia Coppola rather wants to tell a story of Marie Antoinette as the Princess Diana of the eighteenth century. Like Diana, Coppola’s Antoinette is a young girl trapped in a loveless marriage to a man who cares more for his private interests- hunting and making locks- than for her. Like Diana, she is bored and frustrated by the routine and rigidity of life at Court. (The Bourbons are depicted particularly stuffy even by the standards of eighteenth-century royalty – wich misses the point, compared to the Burgundian court ceremony in practice at the Habsburg court in Austria ). Like Diana, she is more spontaneous and outgoing than her emotionally reserved husband and the courtiers surrounding him. (She bursts into applause, something normally forbidden by protocol, at the opera). And, like Diana, she finds consolation in an affair with a handsome soldier, Fersen standing in for James Hewitt. The one thing lacking is a Camilla-figure, but Louis XVI was so notoriously sexless (it took him several years to consummate his marriage) that a royal mistress would not have rung true. Kirsten Dunst does not seem particularly regal, but that does not really matter as her cute charm fits in perfectly with Coppola’s vision of the Queen of France as girl-next-door. (Diana, although an aristocrat by birth, was seen as the People’s Princess, the girl-next-door as future Queen of Britain). Dunst’s slimline figure also seems wrong for the famously voluptuous Antoinette, who was more Diana Dors than Diana Spencer.

The best thing about the film was its visual recreation, in the best “heritage cinema” style, of the period; much was actually shot on location at Versailles. Allusions to modern-day female icons ranging from Paris Hilton to Diana, Princess of Wales, or the use of modern pop music on the soundtrack, however, appear rather jarring. (Coppola herself denies any connection. “I’m not even going to comment on Paris,” she says. “As for Princess Diana, I wasn’t really thinking of her when I was making the film but in hindsight I can see a connection between her and Marie Antoinette; this young girl put into this royal family without a lot of freedom. I can definitely see similarities in that royal life but I wasn’t thinking specifically of her.”) The 1760s and 1770s were a period of such riotous extravagance in interior decoration, in clothing and even in hair styles that any film set among the fashionable classes of this period cannot help but be visually sumptuous. I personally consider that “Marie Antoinette” is somewhat better than Sofia Coppola’s previous effort, the overrated “Lost in Translation, but it is somewhat lacking for either dramatic tension or insight into this of this period of French history. The blame of Americanising French history brought to the film, might not be entirely groundless.

Written by huehueteotl

May 18, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Posted in Movies/Books, Music

Helmut Walcha: J. S. Bach Orgelwerke/ Organ Works

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J. S. Bach Orgelwerke/ Organ Works. Orgeln/ organs: Lübeck, St. Jakobi; Cappel, St. Peter & Paul; Cembalo/ harpsichord(Ammer) Hamburg.


Perhaps it is no exageration to believe that withouth Helmut Walcha’s (1927-1991) Johann Sebastian Bach‘s organ music would not be as popular as it is nowadays.

At his death, in 1991, Wolf Eberhard von Lewinski noted: “The history of organ interpretation of the 20. century cannot be thought without Helmut Walcha.” He was the one, who on historically conceived organs paved the way from the romantic tradition towards a new perception of Bach’s music. Bach’s polyphony with its strong laws and substantial structure in every voice has fascinated Walcha throughout his life. “Bach’s instrumental music is dominated by strong vocal forces. Only regarding the vocal aspect pays Bach due justice: he is singing on the instrument and plays the voice”, he wrote. This was a new and formative approach. “While singing, one must breathe. Hence I demand that one sings along with polyphony.”

“I saw that Bach’s polyphony is a many-voiced structure of unbelievable intrinsic logic. I believe that it leads man to contemplation. He must needs turn his view inside, from outside there is nothing coming towards him.

“Registration has to follow musical phrase in its choice of colour. As long as a motive is leading, it stays with one tone colour, at the subsequent motive change of colour indicates, that something new is happening.

He had his reserves about romanticism and did refuse to play or teach Reger. He refused integrating Reger’s music with his own view upon polyphony. His main focus was Bach, while paying credit to the old masters and to a few new composers like Hessenberg or Hindemith. This focus, perhaps in part due to his blindness, led to great artistic expressivity and authority as well. For a long time he used to be “The Bach specialist” par excellence.

He was distinguished with the Goethe-Plakette der Stadt Frankfurt am Main in 1957 and later with the große Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Stern.

He was fermly opinionated in musical issues, but he was tolerant enough in front of contradicting standpoints, even if he was not ready to share them. In 1981 Walcha finished is public activity with a concert in Dreikönigskirche at the summit of his carreer – a step of unusual human dimension.

Twice in during his lifetime did Walcha record Bach’s complete works: finished 1947 and 1971 creating touchstones.for all later interpretations.

The discussed collecion presents most carefully mastered mono and stereo recordings. The cornerstone is Walcha’s strong, technically hyperclean und unbelievably virtuosic interpretation, rendered masterfully by the mastering. Such an interpretation is most rare among the countless collections of Bach’s complete works.

Walchas biography

born: 27 Oktober 1907 in Leipzig,

died: 11. August 1991 in Frankfurt

In Leipzig he used to study with Günther Ramin und Günther Raphael. At the age of 19 he turned completely blind, after his eye sight weakening since the age of 16. As long as possible he vehemently studied organ literature by the heart. Later, his wife Ursual would play new works voice by voice, and he would combine them in his mind — an enigmatic and astounding memory performance.

From 1926 to 1929 Walcha was organist at St. Thomas in Leipzig, 1929 organist at Friedenskirche in Frankfurt/ Main, from 1933 teacher at Hoch’sches Konservatorium, from 1938 Professor at Frankfurter Musikhochschule, from 1946 to 1981 Organist at Dreikönigskirche Frankfurt/M.walcha150.jpg

Written by huehueteotl

May 16, 2007 at 11:19 pm

Posted in HIV, Music

“Urine Palace” and “The Two Penny Opera” – 12/13 May 2007 Berlin

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Deviant, twisted, stray, blasphemous, eccentric, particular and peculiar are the stories that are told by the Tiger Lillies. But first of all they are stories full of fantasy, poetry and magic. British humour at its blackest, an abstruse danse macabre celebrated in an unsavoury and comical freakshow telling about the dark side of life.

Filth, irony and yet always touching in every son – something between proletarian Liederabend and low life theater they have been presenting to the public in Eastern and Western Europe, U. S., Australia and Japan.

The Tiger Lillies are a three-piece band, based in London. Formed in 1989, they have toured world-wide and won acclaim with their opera Shockheaded Peter, the one that made me fall for them.

Their surreal style has been described as darkly humorous, Brechtian, gypsy cabaret, not to miss bestiality, prostitution and blasphemy, whence they are notorious for shocking unsuspecting audiences. In 1999 their work was featured in the film Plunkett & Macleane.

The Tiger Lillies were nominated for a Grammy award for their 2003 album The Gorey End, which was a collaboration of sorts with the writer/illustrator Edward Gorey and the Kronos Quartet.

Next to the breathtaking “Urine Palace” they also brought their “Two Penny Opera” to the scene of Berliner Ensemble.

I personally loved the unbrushed, acid-tongued concert more than the tame, meek and somewhat overblown orchestra version of the album Urine Palace.

Anyway, many thanks to the Tiger Lillies for two breathtaking evenings in Berlin …


Band members



  • 1994 – Births, Marriages And Deaths
  • 1995 – Spit Bucket
  • 1995 – Ad Nauseam
  • 1996 – Goodbye Great Nation – With Contrastate
  • 1996 – The Brothel To The Cemetery
  • 1997 – Farmyard Filth
  • 1998 – Low Life Lullabies
  • 1998 – Shockheaded Peter
  • 1999 – Bad Blood and Blasphemy
  • 2000 – Circus Songs
  • 2000 – Bouquet of Vegetables – The Early Years
  • 2001 – 2 Penny Opera
  • 2003 – The Sea
  • 2003 – The Gorey End (with Kronos Quartet)
  • 2003 – Live In Russia 2000-2001
  • 2004 – Punch and Judy
  • 2004 – Death and the Bible
  • 2005 – Huinya (with Leningrad)
  • 2006 – Die Weberischen
  • 2007 – Urine Palace

Written by huehueteotl

May 14, 2007 at 8:10 pm

Posted in HIV, Music

People in Crisis

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By Ph.D., Diana Sullivan Everstine, Ph.D., Louis Everstine

With the stressful turbulence of our present culture, more and more clinicians are called upon to intervene in crisis situations. Violent interactions, once considered rare or beyond the province of the therapist, have become familiar events to many practitioners. This volume claims to provide them with both the theoretical background and practical techniques to help people learn from crisis experiences and move toward change and growth.

Strategic Interventions for People in Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster provides for a thorough understanding of interactional dynamics and a plan of action in crisis situations.

Beyond this, of special interest would have been practical guidelines and specific intervention strategies for conducting psychotherapy with different types of violent persons and of victims. Treatment principles for each crisis situation are instead illustrated in case examples. As the authors convincingly demonstrate, with these troubled people a therapist must be ready to make quick decisions, draw upon all available resources from the family and community, and offer continuing support as traumas are worked through and new behavior patterns are learned. In addition, the authors discuss the legal and ethical responsibilities of the therapist.

The really technical issues of conducting therapy are nevertheless somewhat scattered between the lines of background information and of limited use to the practitioner. Too bad. In its actual shape the book is worth reading for anyone interested in crisis intervention but does little more than inform about basic principles.

The chapter describing suicide as a symbolic murder of a targeted person in most cases,  I personally found particularly problematical and its perspective rather onesided, to say the least. Despite the claim of overcoming Freud’s psychoanalytical theory of suicide, the theory developped starting from the talion paradoxon does not really move beyond the notional system of Freud and Stekel.

Alas, the authors honestly emphasize the fact that they would report from their own professional experience and never claim priority for their theoretical perspective.

Table of Contents

Watzlawick, Foreword. Introduction. Acknowledgments. Emergency Psychology. The People. The Problem. The Center. Some Facts and Figures. Beyond the Model. Communication Principles for High Stress or Dangerous Situations. Clinical Intervention in Emergency Situations. The First Telephone Contact with a Person in Crisis. Responding to an Emergency. Arriving at the Scene of an Emergency Without the Police. Basic Steps and Goals. Strategies for Defusing Emergencies. Hospitalizing Persons in Crisis. Deciding Whether or Not to Hospitalize. Assessment and Plan. Involuntary Hospitalization. The Homicidal or Dangerous Person. A Case Study Illustrating the Hospitalization Process. A Case Illustrating that Things are Not Always What They Appear to Be. Domestic Violence. The Scope of the Problem. Couples who Fight Violently. A Violent Husband. A Case of Murder Reconsidered. Battered Spouses. A Battered Wife. The Battered Child. What is Child Abuse? General Diagnostic Indications. Physical Indications. Assessing the Safety of a Home. Treatment of Child Abuse. Sexual Assault on Children. The Child Victim. The Adolescent Victim. The Incestuous Family. Victims of Violent Crimes. General Characteristics of Victim Behavior. Victims of Prolonged Terror. The Adult Woman Victim of Rape. General Considerations. Treatment Techniques. Sexual Factors in Rape. The Criminal Justice Process. The Support Network. Suicide. Etiology of Suicidal Behavior. An Interactional View. Methods of Prevention. A Serious Attempt. Anatomy of a Suicide. Clinical Ethics and Legal Responsibilities. General Principles. Duty to Hospitalize. Duty to Warn. Duty to Report. Special Characteristics of Emergency Work. Index.

About the Author(s)

Diana Sullivan Everstine, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, Director of Affiliated Psychologists & Counselors, Inc., Director of Behaviordata, Inc., an APA-approved CE provider.

Louis Everstine, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, Director of Affiliated Psychologists & Counselors, Inc., Director of Behaviordata, Inc., an APA-approved CE provider.

Written by huehueteotl

May 6, 2007 at 9:48 pm

Da Vinci Code, and still no end…

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No, this time it is not about pregnant virgins, bloodthirsty opus dei crimes or the holy grail, but a music mystery of the Da Vinci Code that a music teacher and former military code breaker says he has cracked. The secret, he claims, lay hidden in the Scottish chapel that appeared in “The Da Vinci Code.”

Thomas Mitchell told The Telegraph that he and his son, Stuart, also a musician, began studying symbols carved on the walls of Rosslyn Chapel 20 years ago. They were especially interested in 213 carved cubes bearing flowers, diamonds, hexagons and other symbols in the building’s Lady Chapel. The pair believe the tune was encrypted because knowledge of music could have been considered heretical.

“I was obsessed by these symbols,” Mitchell said. “I was convinced they meant something.”

Mitchell, who served as a code breaker with the RAF during the Korean War, said that he and his son had a “eureka moment” after years of puzzlement.

cymaticscomplex.jpgMr Mitchell realised the patterns on the cubes seem to match a phenomenon called cymatics or Chladni patterns. Visualisation of cymatics can be done by sprinkling sand on a metal plate and vibrating the plate, for example by drawing a violin bow along the edge, the sand will then form itself into standing wave patterns such as simple concentric circles. The higher the frequencies, the more complex the shapes produced, with certain shapes having similarities to traditional mandalas and crop circle designs.

Different frequencies produce different patterns such as flowers, diamonds and hexagons – shapes all present on the cubes.

cymaticstriangle.jpgCymatics was explored by Jenny in his 1967 book, Kymatik (translated Cymatics). Inspired by systems theory, the work of Ernst Chladni, and his medical practice, Jenny began an investigation of periodic phenomena but especially the visual display of sound. He used standing waves, piezoelectric amplifiers, and other methods and materials.

The two men have brought the music back to life using instruments from the Middle Ages, adding words from a contemporary hymn to finish the piece, called The Rosslyn Motet.

Written by huehueteotl

May 2, 2007 at 2:56 pm