Lipton’s Journal/January 31, 1955/340

From Project Mailer

Which brings me to Bob Lidner.[1] The “twist” in Bob is that he entered psychoanalysis not as a rebel essentially but as a manipulator, a con man, a crook. He was going to learn more about people so he could use them better. But that was the top of his soul, and the basic Bob who is the honest rebel has been emerging more and more. Despite himself, his analytic position becomes progressively more radical, more dangerous. He is travelling the spectrum of himself—as I wrote before he is going from the dishonest man to the honest man, and what a world he crosses. Analysis, practicing it, living with it, is a catalyst for him where it is a corset for most analysts, because analysis enables him to express his true being whereas for most analysts it allows only the suppression of the self. So most analysts get more depressed, more unpredictable in their tiny wild actions (Herbert Aldendorff)[2] and Bob gets more open, more amiable, more loving, more delighted with himself and with others as the years go on. And that is why people (practically all my friends) find him so nice, so attractive, are so drawn to him, and then are disappointed in his books. It is his books which still represent the social part of him, the “crook,” the con man of ideas who throws out things only to hide them—the hand is quicker than the eye.


  1. A prominent Baltimore psychoanalyst and writer, Robert Lindner (1914 – 1956) became acquainted with Mailer after reading Lindner’s 1952 sharp critique of current psychoanalytic practice, Prescription for Rebellion (1952), published by Mailer’s publisher, Rinehart. The letter, which contained both praise and criticism for Lindner’s ideas, led to a close friendship over the next four years, including many visits and the sharing of work, including Lipton’s. See extended note on entry 56.
  2. A New York City psychoanalyst. Connection to Mailer unknown.