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The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing by Damion Searls

11/17/2019
When: Sunday, November 17, 2019
3:00 - 5:00 PM
Where: Office of Dr. Sondra Goldstein
16055 Ventura Blvd #923
Encino, California  91436
United States
Contact: Dr. Sondra Goldstein
(818) 783-4683

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LACPA’s Fall Book Club Selection:

 

The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing
by Damion Searls
 
 

None of us went through graduate school without studying the Rorschach. 

However, how many of us understand the theoretical inspirations, the many ways the test has been used and misused, and how it is a visionary synthesis of art and science? 

Book Summary (edited from Amazon.com):

In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind: a set of ten carefully designed inkblots. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic movements of the day, from Futurism to Dadaism. A visual artist himself, Rorschach had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see.  After Rorschach’s early death, his test quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a cliché in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, and people suffering from mental illness or simply trying to understand themselves better.

In this first-ever biography of Rorschach, Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries and a cache of previously unknown interviews with Rorschach’s family, friends, and colleagues to tell the unlikely story of the test’s creation, its controversial reinvention, and its remarkable endurance—and what it all reveals about the power of perception. Elegant and original, The Inkblots shines a light on the twentieth century’s most visionary synthesis of art and science.

 

A Sample of Praise on Amazon:
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • New York Post • Sunday Times (UK) • Irish Independent
 
“Impressively thorough . . . part biography of Herman Rorschach, psychoanalytic super sleuth, and part chronicle of the test’s afterlife in clinical practice and the popular imagination . . . Searls is a nuanced and scholarly writer . . . genuinely fascinating.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“A marvelous book about how one man and his enigmatic test came to shape our collective imagination. The Rorschach test is a great subject and The Inkblots is worthy of it: beguiling, fascinating, and full of new discoveries every time you look.” —David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z
 
“What an amazing book. The Rorschach inkblot is like the enigmatic corpse in a mystery novel, and Damion Searls is the passionate and encyclopedic detective who unpacks the intricate and twisted story of how it came to be. By the end, one feels that Rorschach and his test are the key to understanding the whole 20th century. Searls is a wonderful writer: funny, compassionate, and unfailingly attentive to all the magical coincidences (or are they?) and twists of human history.”—Elif Batumanauthor of The Possessed
 
 
 
Please contact the Book Club facilitator to RSVP for a meeting:

 

 Encino

Sunday, November 17th at 3:00 PM

Office of Dr. Sondra Goldstein

16055 Ventura Blvd #923

Encino CA 91436

4drsgold@gmail.com

(818) 783-4683 

 

 

 

Join us for great discussions with fellow LACPA members!

 

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