An Experiment in Leisure
Routledge – 2011 – 224 pages
What is it that stops people from knowing what they want? How often do we wonder where we are going and what our world is all about?
Written in 1936 as a companion piece to A Life of One’s Own, An Experiment in Leisure further charts Marion Milner’s illuminating and rewarding investigation into how we lead our lives. Instead of drawing on her daily diary, she turns to memory images – images not only from her own life but also from books, mythology, travel and religion that seem to point to a suspension of ordinary, everyday awareness. From this condition of emptiness springs an increasing imaginative appreciation both of being alive and of the world we live in.
With a new introduction by Maud Ellmann, An Experiment in Leisure remains a great adventure in thinking and living and will be essential reading for all those from a literary, an artistic, a historical, an educational or a psychoanalytic/psychotherapeutic background.
"What does a woman want? "What is revolutionary […] is that the author makes herself the subject rather than the object of Freud’s notoriously chauvinistic question. Aware that her own wants have been distorted and obscured by expectations about ‘woman’ and the pressure to subordinate a woman’s wants to those of others, she strives to develop ‘a method for discovering one’s true likes and dislikes, for finding and setting up a standard of values that is truly one’s own and not a borrowed mass-produced ideal.’" - Maud Ellmann, from the New Introduction
Ellmann, New Introduction. Memories of Hobbies. Memories of Travel. Interest in Witchcraft. Images of Pagan Ceremonial, Burning the God. Looking for Pictures of What One Submits to. Fairy Tale: ‘The Death’s Head Emperor.’ How Should the Story End? Finding Further Terms. Haunting Images From a Bull-Fight. Feeling Drives Me to Study ‘Peer Gynt’. What Causes the Change From Imagination? Acceptance of Uncertainty as a Condition of New Understanding. An Attempt to Review the Method Used in this Experiment. More Images of Death. Attempt to Review the Results of this Experiment. Comparison With Other People. How Does Being a Woman Affect the Problem? Summing Up.
Marion Milner (1900-1998) was a distinguished British psychoanalyst, educationalist, autobiographer and artist.