PSYCHOLOGY

Refuge for a First-rate Mind

Samuel Butler was one of the greatest literary intellectuals of the Victorian age. After a miserable childhood, his life was, in large part, a search for a happy home. Butler was raised at the Rectory at Langar, a scrap of a village in Nottinghamshire, in a gracious, spacious, pleased-with-itself Georgian mansion with an ill-tempered clergyman father who was home all week, and a fluttery, manipulative mother who trapped him on the sofa until he confessed to some infraction.

Read More »

Shelley’s Perfect Villa

In England, Shelley’s health was poor and he was deeply depressed; he blamed his ills on living there, on “the smoke of cities, and the tumult of human kind, on the chilling fogs and rain.”

Shelley believed that moving to Italy would change everything. “Health, competence, tranquility,” he wrote a friend “all these Italy permits, and England takes away.” His chief pleasure in life was “the contemplation of nature” and Italy’s natural beauty would satisfy him as no other place could.

Read More »

American Icarus

My father wasn’t born a tyrant. In his youth he was beautiful, with a round and vulnerable face framed by neatly combed wavy brown hair. He had a deep dimple in his chin, full lips and wide eyes as bright as a pair of newborn stars. In one photo from the family album, he is a cocky, dapper lad leaning his elbow on a tree trunk beside his brothers and uncle. In another, he is a commanding young aviator standing on the runway with his flying buddies as they prepare to board a Douglas DC-4.

Read More »

Daddy, Tell Me a Story

Story time with dad can enhance language skills and inspire children to explore a broader range of reading materials, says Nancy Flanagan Knapp, associate professor at the University of Georgia, “And perhaps most important, it sends a message to boys that reading isn’t just for girls.”

Read More »

Men at Home

While the house has largely been the domain of women, men have strong domestic leanings, too. For the 20th century Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, home is the Good Mother who meets our daily needs, gives us our first memory of belonging and sets the stage for our intimate relationships.

Read More »

Mythology of the Man Cave

On the surface, the comfortable escapes inhabited by 21st century men seem worlds apart from the dark, stoney initiation chambers fashioned by their ancient brothers. The carpeted contemporary cave and the jagged cleft in the earth, however, share common foundations in the male psyche.

Read More »

The Boy Crisis

Boys are in trouble. They’re diagnosed at two to four times the rate as girls with learning disabilities, have higher rates of depression and suicide, and are more likely to end up in prison or on drugs, or be killed in foreign wars. One reason: they are suffering from dad deprivation.

Read More »

Soothing a Child’s Heart

Our children are grieving; they miss their schools and their friends, their birthday parties and play dates. They miss beloved grandparents and nannies, aunts, uncles, cousins and babysitters. An entire season has been excised from their lives.

Read More »

Summoning the Snake

The snake has carried a projection of evil since it first upset the applecart in Eden, and, if anything, our phobia has grown stronger the more civilized we’ve become. Why do most people shudder when they see a sudden flicker of movement on the garden path?

Read More »