Behind Glass is the arresting story of Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham's life as written by her grandson, Michael John Burlingham. Born in 1891, Dorothy Tiffany was the last child in the long line of the famous Tiffany dynasty. As was expected of the young heiress, Dorothy Tiffany married a wealthy member of the American plutocracy, Dr. Robert Burlingham. But the lackluster life of wealthy young women in the nineteenth century held little appeal for Dorothy Burlingham and, leaving behind her socially prominent husband, she took her children and moved to Europe, where she underwent psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud. Dorothy and her children were to become patients of his and Anna Freud's, their houseguests, and intimate friends, developing a unique and storied extended family relationship that remains fascinating for its depth and complexity. Dorothy's quest for fulfillment and a rich inner life ultimately had tragic consequences for those who were dearest to her as she embarked on a path that ultimately led to their downfall.
Michael John Burlingham beautifully incorporates factual detail with family narrative in a manner that highlights the poignant and personal challenges faced by women as the Victorian era gave way to the post-Freudian modern world. This book is a brilliant account of a truly luminous historical figure.
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Michael John Burlingham, the author and editor, was born and lives in New York City. He has lectured extensively on the life of and work of his great-grandfather, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and also published a series of articles about contemporary artist working in traditional styles.Review:
This book is a success. The author, who is Dorothy's grandson, imparts suspense along with information, illuminates history, and involves us in questions about human relations which Dorothy, like all of us, could not answer...I suspect that each reader, depending on his or her experience, will respond differently to Dorothy and her family, yet Burlingham's research, insight, and honesty guarantee that each reader will respond intensely: we can no more escape his family than our own. The New Yorker, August 31, 1989
[Burlingham's book] is one of the best biographies in the whole history of psychoanalysis...[and] is an immensely moving human document...One comes away from the book as from a good novel, with a deeper understanding of the complexities of human motives and of how even the most brilliant people can retain the full capacity for self-deception. Psychoanalytic Books
In a measured, evocative style, Burlingham's biography transcends its immediate subject. The story it tells is one of both the tragedies and regenerative powers of the family. The Chicago Tribune, August 28, 1989
Spanning four generations of Tiffanys, it has the broad sweep of a Russian epic, with the poignant and tragic aspects of a gothic novel...Michael Burlingham has told this story without rancor-but also without hero worship. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, July, 1993
This splendid biography is two books (at least) in one...Toward understanding Dorothy Burlingham, Michael Burlingham ... gives a richly detailed account not only of her Tiffany forebears but of the distinguished Burlingham family she married into. His approach is objective, knowledgeable and nearly always sympathetic ... Burlingham is a masterful researcher ... His organization of the book is entirely right; the style is elegant, discreet, often poetic (sometimes overly). His final chapter is a beautiful essay ... a remarkable literary biography. The Trenton Times, August 27, 1989
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Book Description Other Press, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111590510100