Tate, Robert Penn Warren, John CrowenRansom and Donald Davidson, no onenof whom, to be sure, was a New Yorker.nAs his interest in political theater declined,nOdets turned more and more tonpsychological themes. Mrs. Gibsonnspeaks of his “struggle to unite in hisnwork a world-view that would integratenthe radical insights of Marx and Freudn. . .” a struggle that was and is commonnamong New York intellectuals, particularly,nas Norman Podhoretz has observed,namong those of Jewish descent.nHerself a psychoanalyst and protegee ofnErik H. Erikson, Mrs. Gibson is fascinatednby Odets’s self-absorption and proposesnto offer a psychological interpretationnof his “life-history.” Throughoutnthis long volume, which takes Odets onlynto 1940, the focus rarely shifts away fromnthe playwright’s internal life. Indeed, wenare spared no detail, however intimatenand seemingly irrelevant, on the apparentnassumption that evefy psychic momentnis pregnant with meaning. Thenupshot of this searching examination, accordingnto Mrs. Gibson, is that Odetsnsuffered throughout his life from annunresolved identity crisis. Simultaneouslynrepulsed by and attracted to hisndomineering businessman father and hisnsubmissive mother, he was never able tonintegrate contradictory “identityelements”ninto a unified personality. Asnlate as the early 1950’s, after hisnbelligerent but ultimately cooperativenappearance before HUAC, he was stillnpathetically uncertain of himself: “Personalnclarity, in my opinion, is the firstnlaw of the day,” he wrote at the time,n”that plus a true and real search for personalnidentity.” All of Odets’s plays,nMrs. Gibson insists, reflect his semiconsciousnstruggle for some sort ofnpsychological equilibrium.nBy no means a crude simplifier, Mrs.nGibson is right, I think, to call attentionnto the importance of biography in anynhermeneutic strategy. But despite repeatednassurances that she is not engagednin a reductionist enterprise, she seems tonbelieve that an exhaustive explanation ofn12nChronicles of Culturencreativity is, in principle, within ourngrasp. “We are still,” she writes with unconvincingndiffidence, “a long way fromnbeing able to describe positively in arlyndetail what are the ‘necessary and sufficient’nconditions which transform a staleneffort at mastering an unconscious conflict—ornexpressing an unconscious fantasy—intona creative one which formallynand emotionally satisfies the playwrightnand ‘speaks to’ an audience.” Her readingnof Odets’s plays always presupposesnthe necessary character of the link betweenncreativity and unconscious conflict;nart as neurosis if you will. The approachnyields an occasional insight whennthe subject is someone as unstable asnOdets, but there is no justification fornassuming its universal validity. On thencontrary, art — because it is un-nnatural—is by definition the realizationnof pre-eminently conscious aims.nL*ess troubling but equally distractingnis Mrs. Gibson’s habit of dressing outncommon sense in the attire of science.nShe demonstrates repeatedly, for example,nwhat must be obvious to the dullestnmind almost from the first page: Odetsnharbored ambivalent feelings for hisnoverbearing father. At one point, shencannot resist letting us in on a scintillatingnsecret: “the essential identity ofnthe director as ‘parent’—in contrast tonthe actor as ‘child’—has often beennobserved by clinicians.” Sometimes, onnthe other hand, her explanations are sonhedged about with qualification, sontheoretically dense, that one is not quitencenain that anything is bemg said.nItt the fotthouaiag issue of Cbromdes of Culture:ni History &Iife jn”It is not necessarily the subjects of… bedte tfaac make them so – “nirritating. After alf, |;tcat writecs^fDom the Greek tRtgcdians to GtshamnGreene and Sanl Bciltnr—haveeflfectiveljr used ixvet^e, tniudei,nviolence, alienation and sex in their woifc. But they have done so withndieassumpdon that somewheie-beyond the inunediatc honoi is ancontext of ^ues ma^ ^ves sigp&ance to the trauma. Ltetaiy sex andnvioience-outstde aidi a moral context pcodctees nathing;.mDie than annephemeral u Jding of the senses.”n, fiom”TetmuuillyN»vc”n’*• by Kobett Ci Steensman>- ft^ . fn;. ‘ ‘^’n”Let us aswtffc d»c io the bioait some xhoUr wilt wMi to tnite an’nobjecrivB history of the 1960’s and the 1970’s ia Amcfica…. HicjiuanddScuIt ptoblcm such an histonan will face ai ondenfusKk^ thes? twondecades wffl be this: How did it happen thKidurisg that epoch, such anlarge numbteof people with low etiucaL and igptait sguctdatds andnttafl^Kuendy $di*intetested and destmctive motives managed to passn- themselves i/Stis tlltf motal leaders and Benefacixus o£society?”nJ ‘ ‘,! • fiwfl[>*n»e Enemy Up Close”n’ . ^ byOydeVTibonnAlso:”‘n•C fnCj^QOS & Views—Conmiendl^ile»^Ia Focosn«JgJ- ‘ Waste of Bioney—-Per!ceptiI)I«’ ^n~ * ‘- ‘F^i^iitericaoPFoscieiiiuni’-Stage^—Siaeen—An <n. Bltuic-^0)nespofidence-~l^^efiit CnbotenJouttialistn.—Social Register—Pioietfucs & Exchanges^nnn’in