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Colloquia Index [link]

Art & Literature


A Clearer Vision
Harry Dudley

Ametric Elegy - for R.D. Laing
Thomas Atwood

For Ronnie Laing
Tom Greening

Monologue of the Body
Samuel Hazo

Proud to be Crazy
Joseph Jay Dross

v. (for RDL)
Phyllis Webb


"Narcissism in the Canadian Novel"
by Francis Mansbridge
from Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne 6.2 (1981)

The Irresistible Beauty of All Things
From a lecture entitled 'Imagination, Inspiration, Evasion"
Frederico Garcia Lorca

Pattern, Perception and Presence: Issues in the Struggle for Narrative Meaning
in the Writings of R. D. Laing

Donald Vanouse
Presented at the Eighth International Conference on Literature and Psychoanalysis,
London, July 1991


Knots Ballet
The Coisceim Ballet Company of Ireland concluded a very well-received tour performance of a ballet entitled Knots, winner of Best Production Award at Dublin Fringe Festival 2005

"This exhilarating devised production is the most accomplished to date in
CoisCeim's ongoing project to merge the aesthetics and skills of
contemporary dance and theatre."
- Karen Fricker, The Guardian

"Using brutal and high-octane choreography and the insightful text of
psychoanalyst R.D. Laing, Cois Ceim’s dancers lay their lives bare in
exposing the fine line between love and madness. Through a series of
passionate physical and verbal confrontations between ‘Jack and Jill’ as
they try to unravel the twists, turns and convolutions inherent when we
entangle our life and body with someone else’s…and the sad little
patterns our minds and hearts are compelled to forever repeat."
(Cork Theatre release)

A clip from the music for the 2002 Royal Ballet performance of Knots composed by Vince Clark (Erasure, Depeche Mode) and Martyn Hare (Human League) is available on Illustrious Company website.

What to watch for: Argentina's Theatre Dance Company Marañas is undertaking an original ballet also on the theme of Knots; details of tour will be added here as they come available.

RD Laing, by Mike Maran
A Live Performance, written and performed by Mike Maran, with music by David Milligan.
Awarded the Herald Angel for its "outstanding contribution to the Edinburgh
Festival" in 2001, Mike Maran retells the life and work of R D Laing with a jazz score based on the music of Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Chopin, arranged for piano and performed live on stage by David Milligan.
Maran's play joins the 2006 Festival Fringe with performances scheduled on various dates from Aug. 5 - 26, venue: Valvona & Crolla, 19 Elm Row. Further details on the website.


Life Before Death
R.D. Laing
A record album of Laing's Sonnets set to music. Production and music by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, with musical direction and arrangements by Nic Rowley

Sous le regard d'un soleil noir [external link]
Francis Dhomont, composer
A composition in eight parts "... spotlighting the schizophrenic vertigo of the anguished self...The probing of the depths, characteristic of psychoanalysis, has inspired this magisterial work in eight sections. The fine quotes heard throughout are taken mainly from the writings of British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, R. D. Laing."

Miniatures (1980)
Morgan Fisher presents '51 Miniature Masterpieces' by various artists including a track: 'R.D. Laing and Son - Tipperary'.

The Famous Charisma Box (1993)
Bonzo Dog Band
(compilation on 14 CDs)
Vol.3 - The Silver-tongued Years contains the tracks "One" and "Two" from Life Before Death.

Octopus (1973)
Gentle Giant
Album contains a track, 'Knots', inspired by the book of the same name. A sample clip of the 'harmonious cacophany' is available on the album page on Amazon.

Villa 21
Part of the Greek 80's punk movement, Villa 21 derived its name from the therapeutic community run by David Cooper. The band originally consisted of Costas Pothoulakis - vocals & guitar (d. 1991), Adda Labara - guitar & keyboards, Andreas Papadopoulos - bass, and Babis Dallidis - drums. An interesting write-up about Villa 21 is available on the website.

· FILM ·

Blue/Orange (2005)
Howard Davies, UK
(Aired on BBC2, Tuesday 8 August 2006)(signed)
A young black man is being detained ("sectioned") in a mental hospital, after some "incident", but after the statutory 30 days is due to be released. After all, he seems quite sane, if a little aggressive from being locked up! But, his (young trainee) psychiatrist doesn't agree, a major problem being that this patient thinks all oranges are really coloured blue!
The psychiatrist's supervisor is an older man, who ascribes to the theories of radical 1960s psychiatrist R D Laing (Brian Cox plays the supervisor with a Glasgow accent, which Laing had, although the script makes it clear he isn't Laing).
There follows a power struggle, with the supervisor threatening the trainee psychiatrist , who then might not qualify .....This is partly about cultural relativism; what would be "normal expected behaviour" for a person from a particular social/ethnic background? There's also some oblique references to Wittgenstein, with colours perception, and the (im)possibility of a "private language" .....
An adaptation of the play by Joe Penhall, Blue Orange won Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards. IMDB listing

Knots (1975)
A feature film by David Munro
Actors from the British Actors Company arrive in a town to prepare for a performance. The rehearsals touch deeply on the emotional and psychological hang-ups the players have had, and one by one, these are unraveled. The events of the film are based on a book by the R.D. Laing (who appears briefly), and the way they are worked out reveals something of his theories.
[Note: This film appears to have disappeared. If you have any information on locating a copy, please
contact us. Thanks.]


in Honour of the 75th Anniversary of R.D. Laing's Birthday -October 7, 2002
(Also contains articles and music downloads)

Robert W. Firestone Gallery
Photos collected for exhibition at the Museo Diocesano d'Arte.



"Nurse Ann's Fighting Heart" book coverNurse Ann's Fighting Heart
by Lucy Bowdler, 1985

From the start Nurse Ann Persons was glad she'd moved to New York City from her small upstate hometown. She loved working in a big-city hospital with its daily challenges. She loved using her nursing skills to their fullest. She loved Manhattan, with its glamour, excitement, and variety. But Ann was not one to be overwhelmed by the sophisticated city. The new men in her life, flamboyant Dr. Ronald Laing and serious Dr. Craig Downing, both discovered that New York with its fast pace would never change Ann's old-fashioned ideas about love. And the hospital hierarchy learned that nothing - absolutely nothing - could change the stubborn nurse's old-fashioned ideas about putting her patients' welfare above all else.

I Was a Mate of Ronnie Laing
Anne McManus, Canongate (Scotland) 1998
Despite the title, it is not apparent that the novel refers to Laing, or that he appears in fictionalised form. One review states, "The underlying theme of socialism in Britain from the 60s till now - the title refers to R.D. Laing, originator of the ‘social theory’ of mental illness - may prove daunting to non-UK readers, but the death of the sixties and the rise of the Me Generation is familiar worldwide and Charlie - a most excellent creation - is, despite her confusions, as good a narrator as you can get." Barcelona review

~ Further listings of various media can be found in the Recordings section of the Bibliography ~

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