R.H.I.

R.H.I.

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A researcher sits in the archive of the British Psychoanalytic Society in London, examining fragile pieces of paper, small notebooks, and diaries. A writer in Berlin finds himself haunted by the city’s socialist-era buildings, and by their designer. Each begins to sketch the historical figure at the heart of his fixation. Joan Riviere was an early English psychoanalyst and Sigmund Freud’s earliest translator. Hermann Henselmann was a German architect, famous for many of the post-war buildings of the German Democratic Republic. The two novellas about their lives form an incomplete history of Europe’s 20th century—its wars, its politics and thought. They explore two complementary attitudes to the world: the psychoanalyst’s absorption in the continuing impact the world has on us, and the communist’s efforts to build something new in the midst of it all. Lucidly realised and formally inventive, R.H.I. combines historical research with fiction, blurring and refocusing our ways of seeing the past.

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