Podcast: Alice Kuzinar, Melancholia’s Dog
Alice A. Kuzinar, author of Melancholia’s Dog: Reflections on Our Animal Kinship, was recently interviewed by Deborah Harper for Psychjourney, her Web site for mental health professionals and consumers. Drawing from her new book, Kuzinar discusses the philosophical and psychological significance of man’s best friend and helps to demonstrate why “dog-love can be a precious but melancholy thing.” Archived audio from the interview is available in the podcasts section of Harper’s site.
An attempt to understand human attachment to the canis familiaris in terms of reciprocity and empathy, Melancholia’s Dog tackles such difficult concepts as intimacy and kinship with dogs, the shame associated with identification with their suffering, and the reasons for the profound mourning over their deaths. In addition to philosophy and psychoanalysis, Alice A. Kuzniar turns to the insights and images offered by the literary and visual arts—the short stories of Ivan Turgenev and Franz Kafka, the novels of J. M. Coetzee and Rebecca Brown, the photography of Sally Mann and William Wegman, and the artwork of David Hockney and Sue Coe. Without falling into sentimentality or anthropomorphization, Kuzniar honors and learns from our canine companions, above all attending the silences and sadness brought on by the effort to represent the dog as perfectly and faithfully as it is said to love.