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Rensal the Redbit


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About the Author

Eugene J. Mahon, MD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center for Training and Research and at the Contemporary Freudian Society. He is also a member of the Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies, Princeton, New Jersey. He won The Alexander Beller Award of Columbia Psychoanalytic Institute in 1984, and has been on the editorial boards of the 'International Journal of Psychoanalysis', the 'Journal of The American Psychoanalytic Association' and he is currently on the editorial board of the 'Psychoanalytic Quarterly'. He practices Child Analysis and Adult Analysis in New York City.


'Eugene Mahon has written a dreamily whimsical, charming little book that is lovely to read and a delight to review. It is as poetic as it is philosophical, as undefinable in purpose as it is recognizable in the array of concerns expressed in it, as private as it is broad in its appeal.In a fantasyland that is also recognizable as our very own world, lives a young redbit (very like a rabbit but infinitely more singular, with his colorful pelt and piercingly inquiring mind). He romps and plays, as the young will do when circumstance allows. Increasingly, however, he is interrupted in his carefree child's pleasures by observations of the nature around him and the nature within him. These command his attention and force him to stop what he is doing, cock his head, and wonder what and why.One day, he stumbles upon a marvelously Lincolnesque "tall one" who somehow has not forgotten what it was like to be awakened out of youthful innocence by increasingly coalescing glimpses of the wonderful and the terrible that constitute the animate and inanimate world that surrounds us and of which we are a living, breathing, feeling, acting part. Quizzically ambiguous, sadly sagacious, but ever patient and unintrusively kind and loving, he is ideally suited as an interested listener, a compassionate comforter, a wise facilitator, and a source of necessary bits of information that cannot be easily enough obtained elsewhere.The redbit makes regular visits to the Tall One, who becomes his welcome friend. As they refresh themselves with endless cups of tea and slices of toast, augmented on occasion by a handful of fresh-picked berries plucked from the bounty around them, they converse about life and its manifold mysteries. Birth, death, love, hate, the warmth of safety and security, the thrill of daring and adventure, the here and now, the worlds that can be visited only with the soaring imagination, the awe-inspiring universe, the universal awfulness of the redbit (i.e., human) world of which they are a part, all is grist for their mill. Is this a parable about child psychoanalysis? Is it an inspiring but sadly poetic depiction of the joys and sorrows of parenthood? Is it a bittersweet expression of the nostalgic yearning for a youth which adults can no longer have except vicariously? As you will. The reader has prerogatives as well as the author. As for me, I hope that the story of little Rensal finds in his readers kindred spirits who will be able to read it from the heart. This slim volume, comparable to the best poetic fables of Aesop, Orwell, and Thurber, is simply a joy to read.'- Martin A. Silverman, from the The Psychoanalytic Quarterly Review'Eugene Mahon is a child therapist and psychoanalyst, as well as a poet. Both of these are apparent in this magical fairy tale. As Rensal grows up, he deals with shadows and light, big and small, safe and scared, alone and together, origins and endings, and the very meaning of growing up. Mahon the psychoanalyst traces these issues through a series of dialogues in the ever-expanding relationship between Rensal and the Tall One, a relationship that embodies each issue. Mahon the poet is apparent in his language, his imagery, and his fascination with dreams and creativity. The reader learns about child development and psychoanalysis as he comes to know Rensal, to know Mahon, and most of all to know himself.'- Robert Michels, MD, Walsh McDermott University Professor of Medicine and Cornell University

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