Remembering Andrew Gordon

By Nakjavani, Erik | The Mailer Review, Fall 2017 | Go to article overview

Remembering Andrew Gordon


Nakjavani, Erik, The Mailer Review


Editor's note: Andrew M. Gordon passed away on October 18, 2018 (the year prior to the publication of this volume). He was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Florida and Vice-President of the PsyArt Foundation, for which he organized the annual International Conference on Psychology and the Arts. He taught in the University of Florida programs in Paris and Rome and was been a Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature in Spain, Portugal, and Serbia, a Visiting Professor in Russia, Hungary, and Argentina, and a keynote speaker at conferences in Japan, South Korea, and Egypt. Professor Gordon is the author of An American Dreamer: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Fiction of Norman Mailer; Empire of Dreams: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg; and, with Hernan Vera, of Screen Saviors: Hollywood Fictions of Whiteness and, with Peter Rudnytsky, he edited Psychoanalyses/Feminisms.

I FIRST MET ANDY GORDON at one of the annual International Conferences on Literature and Psychology nearly three decades ago. That year the conference was held in France at Aix-en-Provence. Andy helped his colleague, the well-known psychoanalytic critic Norman Holland, in organizing these conferences. Generally, Freudian psychoanalytic theory and practice were the dominant mode of the literary analyses and interpretations presented at these get-togethers. However, by no means were they entirely Freudian oriented. I remember Andy's witheringly humorous but cogent presentation on Jacques Lacan, "Trouble in River City or Lacan's 'The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious'."

With the benefit of hindsight, I think Andy's critique of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory cleared the way for me to make my own eclectic and somewhat more philosophical presentations on Lacan, Andre Green, Wilfred Bion, and others. So my long preoccupation with phenomenological interpretations of lived body experiences and Freudian psychoanalysis continued. With much cheerful banter from Andy, I was coming more or less to grips with my longstanding interdisciplinary interests and psychoanalysis. With him as editor, we were hoping to bring out a book on these various conceptual concerns. Much to my regret, it never came to pass.

Andy and I continued seeing each other annually and corresponding well into the late 1990s, and then meeting up more sporadically as we entered the 21st century. …

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