William Blake at the Tate Britain

The other day I went to the William Blake exhibition at the Tate Britain and it was brilliant. Naturally it was a bit of a problem that I went in the late afternoon on a Saturday, because I had the problem I often have with exhibitions, where it feels like I am trapped in a more cultural version of IKEA due to the crowds and the conveyor-belt nature of the layout.

However, the busyness did not ruin the exhibition as much as I had feared, perhaps because I was so struck by Blake’s work. The first couple of rooms were hot and stuffy, and it was all too obvious that I was breathing in other people’s breath, which was obnoxious. About twenty minutes in I nearly left, but I was glad I didn’t. Read more

Twilight of the Idols / The Anti-Christ by Friedrich Nietzsche

It had been a while since I’d read anything by Nietzsche, but I revisited him this week and did not have the reaction I’d expected. I know I’ve read Twilight of the Idols before, but I couldn’t remember much about it, although I do remember enjoying On the Genealogy of Morality.

I thought I’d enjoy re-reading him. I didn’t. While he’s very good at pithy aphorisms, there’s a sense of superiority that never used to bother me but now really does. He is so very sexist; more than just “Well he lived in sexist times,” but in a way that reads as degrading. Read more

Works of Love by Søren Kierkegaard

I have been in love with Søren Kierkegaard since I was seventeen years old. I read The Sickness Unto Death, and then Fear and Trembling and The Book on Adler, and I was hooked. Never before had I read anything which had chimed so perfectly with who I am.

I revisit Kierkegaard frequently, and my favourite book of his remains Fear and Trembling. However, I didn’t read Works of Love for the first time until about five years ago. I re-read it this week, and it reminded me just how much I love Kierkegaard’s writing. Read more

Existential Therapies by Mick Cooper

For the last three months, I have been studying psychoanalytic approaches to psychotherapy. It’s been interesting, and there are certainly some elements that I can see being useful to some clients. However, there is something about the approach that jars with who I am.

I am pleased, therefore, that for the next three months I’ll be moving on to read more about existential therapy: the kind I eventually plan to practise. I had anticipated enjoying it, but when I started reading this book I had a settling feeling, like coming home. Read more