09 July 2007

Olmsted's Brain

The latest issue of Harvard Magazine has published an article in which FLO is psychoanalyzed. What was really motivating him? Michael Sperber, MD, takes a stab:
It is not far-fetched to suppose that Olmsted came into his calling because he sought with every fiber of his being to realize that vision. By introducing nature to the urban scene, he offered respite from the pathogenic influences of city life, “the symptoms of which,” he wrote, “are nervous tension, over-anxiety, hasteful disposition, impatience, [and] irritability.” Such symptoms could be reversed through exposure to pleasing rural scenery: “It is thus, in medical phrase, a prophylactic and therapeutic agent of value….”

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