Unlit Corners endeavours to bring light to neglected character traits which many struggle to overcome. Filled with relevant case studies and carefully crafted psychoanalytic theory, the book elucidates the multilayered nature of such psychopathologies and its treatment. Beginning in the public realm, Nina Savelle-Rocklin explores the complex meaning of ‘dirtiness,’ both literally and figuratively, relating it the body, mind, and language. Ann Smolen’s investigation of miserliness follows, where she emphasizes that it is not about money, but instead arises from the poverty of internal good objects, which are the basic source of generosity. Jerome Blackman examines the nuanced potential meanings of shyness using psychopathology and underlying etiology, while Lois Choi-Kain deftly categorizes outrageousness into three types: a guilt driven masochist, a hope-driven optimist, and a hate-driven sadist, with a subcategory for creative writers and artists
The more private traits start with shallowness. Michael Civin develops ‘shallow’ as a general construct and studies it from a psychoanalytic perspective, arguing that no human being can be described accurately as shallow. The Kayatekins come next with their study of indecisiveness and the role of the ego as a way of understanding this trait. Nilofer Kaul looks at ‘restlessness’ and its associations in psychoanalysis, literature, and culture. The final chapter comes from Salman Akhtar on the subject of cowardliness, where he links it to the lack of self protective devices emanating from breeches in the early mother–child bond and deficient identification with the same-sex parent.
This book is highly recommended to clinicians to give them the tools to not only understand and empathize with their patient’s struggles but also to enhance their capacity to help them overcome such struggles.