Away with the Masks!

Judith Edwards, is a retired child and adolescent psychotherapist who worked for over thirty years at the Tavistock Clinic in London. ‘Love the Wild Swan: The Selected Works’ of Judith Edwards was published by Routledge in their World Library of Mental Health series, and her edited book, ‘Psychoanalysis and Other Matters: Where Are We Now?’ was also published by Routledge. From 1996 to 2000, she was joint editor of the ‘Journal of Child Psychotherapy’. Apart from her clinical experience, one of her principal interests is in the links between psychoanalysis, culture, and the arts, as well as making psychoanalytic ideas accessible to a wider audience. She has an international academic publishing record and in 2010 was awarded the Jan Lee memorial prize for the best paper linking psychoanalysis and the arts during that year: ‘Teaching and learning about psychoanalysis Film as a teaching tool’.

Judith’s latest book, ‘Grandmotherland: Exploring the Myths and Realities’ draws together a wide range of perspectives on the role and experience of grandmothers.

I wrote this book out of a painful situation: not seeing my own grandchildren. But, as my dear late friend Hilary Mantel told me, ‘Nothing is ever wasted.’ It’s my hope that Grandmotherland will help readers have a more nuanced point of view on the saccharine idea of grandmothers. I found that ‘being a grandmother’ wasn’t at all as I had imagined… then I found others who had the same experience, which was both a surprise and a relief.

I wanted to find something more ‘real’, where I and all the other grandmothers might be, now, in the 21st century. So, I asked a range of grannies, would-be grannies and definitely would-be NOT grannies what it was like for them.

I got in my car to explore, set the GPS towards getting a clearer view, and motored on – poop poop! as Mr Toad cried. How exciting to motor down an open road! I found that my own clinical experience over 30 years was a help, as was the idea I had of exploring grannies in other countries, in other cultures. Like varieties of soup, I found 58 different versions of the Red Riding Hood Tale… Was I off my rocker? No, I found I could adopt a wider view… a more mixed picture than the one I had thought about before. So, as I discovered, I could see behind the masks, I could start to unearth the characters behind the caricatures.

My other interests include photography (I’m never without my mobile phone), the power of images and links with the other arts especially film. As I emphasise in the book, this isn’t a how-to book or a how-not-to book. But I do hope it can ‘smash the frozen sea within us’ as Kafka so vividly put it…

Judith Edwards

Buy your copy of ‘Grandmotherland: Exploring the Myths and Realities’ now!