I’ll be speaking at this afternoon-long symposium at The Institute of Psychoanalysis about why twins are often taken to represent particularly intimate relationships. We see this in classical myth, in the figures of the Dioscuri or ‘Heavenly Twins’, in studies which attempt to evidence inter-uterine sociality of twins, or this recent survey, conducted by the Twin and Multiple Birth Association, which argued that twin children are less likely to fight and have enhanced social skills. There’s added work to be done here since hit shows like Game of Thrones, and the prize-winning novels of Michel Tournier, John Banville and Pat Barker, all provide contemporary iterations, with a Classical precedent, that the closeness of twins might lead to sexually incestuous relations. And finally, there is the relentless interest in identical twins as representatives of a genetic community (a kind of molecular intimacy?) I do not want to arbitrate between these views but I only wish to to reflect on the persistent interest in twins as representing a paradigmatic form of identicality, emotional as well as physical, which stands distinct from ‘normal’ somatic, sibling, sexual or amorous relations. The full programme is pasted below; lots of other interesting talks in the offing.
Venue: The Institute of Psychoanalysis, 112a Shirland Avenue, London, W9 2EQ.
Nearest tube: Warwick Avenue (Bakerloo Line)
Price: £7.50, payable on the day.
Contact: Jennifer Cooke J.A.Cook[at]lboro.ac.uk.
1.30 – 1.45 pm Arrival & registration
1.45 – 2 pm Jennifer Cooke, Loughborough University Welcome & summary of recent & current work on intimacy in literature and theories of intimacy.
2 – 2.15 pm Catherine Humble, University College London Talking About Love in Raymond Carver
2.15 – 2.30 pm David Nowell-Smith, University of East Anglia ‘Doubting Affect’
2.30 – 2.45 pm Kaye Mitchell, University of Manchester The gender and politics of shame in contemporary (post-1990) literature
2.45 – 3 pm Christine Campbell, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham Consensual non-monogamous relationships such as polyamory and swinging from a psychology perspective
3 – 3.15 pm Mike Lousada, Sex Therapist ‘Somatic Sexology – Towards a Humanisitic Approach to Sex Therapy’
3.15 – 3.30 pm Erika Kvistad, University of York Sexual power dynamics in the work of Charlotte Brontë
3.30 – 4 pm Tea, coffee & biscuits
4 – 4.15 pm Katherine Harrison, University of Southern Denmark ‘Transformations of Kinship: Re/mediations’ (sperm donor stories)
4.15 – 4.30 pm Cécile Feza Bushidi, ‘Social Dance and the Politics of Intimacy: the Case of Mwomboko Dance’
4.30 – 4.45 pm William Viney, Durham University ‘Twin Intimacies’
4.45 – 5 pm Paola Baseotto, Insubria University, Italy ‘The Psychological and Emotional Impact of Plague in Early Modern England’
5 – 5.15 pm Helen Thomas, University College Falmouth Illness, disease and death in literary and visual culture
5.15 – 5.30 pm Ailsa Granne, King’s College London The intimacy of print: women writing between the wars
5.30 – 5.45 pm Felcility Allen, Artist Begin Again: dialogic portraits project
5.45 – 6 pm Reina van der Wiel, Birkbeck, University of London ‘Writing Lives of Care: Intimacy, Ethics and Literary Form’
6 – 7 pm Wine reception and launch of Scenes of Intimacy: Reading, Writing and Theorizing Contemporary Literature
7.30 pm Symposium dinner
All welcome but not included in conference price at The Warrington, 93 Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, W9 1EH (10 minutes’ walk away).