Thursday 2 April 2009

Puds and Psychoanalysts

Having attempted a Apricot Roulade a while ago, with fairly disastrous results (albeit very tasty ones) yesterday I returned to the Afternoon Teas recipe book. My friend Lou had half a carton of double cream which didn't have long left to live, and thought we might be able to use it... and I knew there was a recipe that I wanted to use involving double cream. Not only that, but 'double (heavy) cream' - do they intentionally include the inevitable result upon the consumer?

That recipe was for Chocolate Torte. Mmmmm. As you can see from the picture, it turned out pretty well - and tastes amazing. But when the main ingredients are cream and chocolate, you can't go far wrong. We didn't have any liqueur, so that couldn't go in. Being this recipe book, though, everything was slightly over-complicated. They kept wanting me to leave the pastry to rest for an hour, and thought I should use
an electric mixer to make flour and fat into breadcrumbs... tsk. But it was worth all the labour, and I can feel myself getting larger just looking at it.

What else has happened lately... Today I read my first Freud! 'Femininity' (1933). I'm really interested in th
e reception to Freud, especially in middlebrow literature of the 1920s and '30s - it's amazing how pervasive his theories, or vague outlines of them, were - but I hadn't ever got around to reading anything he'd actually written. Somehow it *felt* like I'd read it before... and that must be more or less how these interwar novelists dealt with Freud. I'd go so far as to say most of the novels I've read from the period make glancing mentions of him - for example, EM Delafield's The Way Things Are, as quoted in Nicola Beauman's A Very Great Profession:

'Well,' said Christine kindly, 'I can't say that I believe you. And any decent analyst would tell you that you're doing yourself a great deal of harm by this constant pretence. It's bound to create the most frightful repressions. What sort of dreams do you have?'

But Laura, even though she did live in the country, knew all about Herr Freud and his theories, and declined to commit herself in any way upon the subject of dreams.'

In fact, I've proposed a section of my doctorate on the influence of, and response to, Freud - so if ever you find a comment about Freud in an interwar novel, do let me know!


  1. I'm thinking, I'm thinking, I know there is something in my mind that is just longing to pop out, sadly it won't at the moment. I'll sleep on it and see if that helps. Fascinating subject.
    Wonderful cake, my waistline is expanding as I gaze!


  2. You may be interested to know that Freud came up a grand total of once in my entire three-year Psychology course, and that was one footnote in one textbook. I don't recall him ever being discussed in a lecture or tutorial. Not entirely sure why he's been so influential...

  3. Have you read Rebecca West's "The Return of the Soldier"? She explored Freudian analysis in this story of a soldier suffering from "shell shock."

  4. An interesting Freud mention in Mary McCarthy's "The Group." Book was written in the 1960s but is set in the 1930s; it's about a group of girls who graduate from Vassar in 1933. One, Priss, the group "grind," listening to a very psychologically au courant girl, Noreen, talk airly about Freud being passe, is relieved to think she won't have to read him after all. And there's a usage that amused me - when laying down the law, one girl says "Any psychologist knows..." but of course she's *not* a psychologist! It's a socially revealing novel.

  5. I'm thinking about Freud but dreaming about having some of your wonderful Torte!!

  6. I cant think about Freud as that cake just looks too delicious and keeps drawing my eyes to it!

  7. Come home Simon, come home! My kitchen awaits you! Oh, you plan to do just that!
    OVW (aren't you all jealous?)
    ps the security code was 'dinerson' - weird or what?

  8. you'll be able to sample the Simnel Cake I made during the Mothering Sunday service when you come home Si.

  9. I think I'm the only person on here who went all gooey over the picture of 'Uncle Sigmund' rather than the (albeit delicious-looking) torte... 'Ordinary Families' seems to have been influenced by Freud in the way it psychologically assesses people, though I couldn't find a specific quote. Will let you know if any others spring to mind!


  10. Ditto Phil. Though he did invent psychology, so we ought to give him at least a nod, in a polite, keeping a safe distance, "well-done-but-we-all-think-you-were-a-fruitcake" sort of way. (Sorry Clare.)


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