On the Couch: Psychoanalysis Cartoons from the New Yorker


Psychoanalysis is a serious business. Patients spend years recalling painful experiences, which can often be agony for the analyst too. So what's so funny about it?

Precisely because psychoanalysis is so serious, and a business, and deals with the more uncomfortable aspects of our lives, it has become a classic target for gag cartoonists. The New Yorker has run over 400 cartoons on the subject, 94 of which are presented in this book.

Spanning nearly 80 years of preoccupation - not to say obsession - with what happens in a more or less traditional therapist's office, they depict, as New Yorker Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff put it, "the shrink and the shrunk, the practitioner and the practiced upon. And, of course, the couch."

Over the decades, cartoonists have expressed ridicule, skepticism, amazement or just pure amusement. In New York, of course, psychoanalysis is an entrenched part of the genius loci, and urbane New Yorker readers everywhere have identified with the attitudes and situations reflected in the cartoons.

From the Forward by Michael Freund

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