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Charles Ives: "My Father's Song": A Psychoanalytical Biography. By Stuart Feder. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-300-05481-5. Pp. xvi, 396. $35.
Charles Ives continues to excite the imagination of many writers, who approach him from a variety of directions. Some great figures are interesting only in the narrowest sense: through their produced works. Others, such as Beethoven and Shakespeare, can be interpreted from many different standpoints because they possess the broadest possible artistic and personal scope. Charles Ives certainly belongs to the latter group.
Stuart Feder views Ives from a psychoanalytic standpoint, and he is certainly qualified for this task. A practicing psychoanalyst and faculty member of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, with advanced degrees in music from Harvard University, Feder has written and lectured extensively on this subject.
At the outset of this book, Feder establishes that his discussion of Ives's music merely secures a point of entry into the psychoanalytic aspects of his subject. He sees Charles and George Ives as a "biographical father-son pair second to none in music" (p. xii). He states that "a true account of the …