Infamous Fictional Psychiatrists

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Dice Man

By George Cockcroft, writing as Luke Rhinehart (1971)

1. In this novel, a character named Luke Rhinehart is a middle-aged Manhattan psychiatrist suffering from depression. Disillusioned with medicine and with life, he finds freedom in the roll of the dice. One roll dictates that he carry out his deeply disturbing fantasy of raping the wife of his close colleague. When he knocks on her door and tells her what he plans to do, he’s taken aback by her compliance. He’s disturbed further when, after two agreeable hours, he realizes that he has changed in some indefinable but significant way. He extends the laws of chance to his clinical decision-making, which alleviates his deep-seated fear of failure and allows him to begin viewing his work as something of a game. He advises a female patient diagnosed with nymphomania to find work in a busy Brooklyn brothel. To a slender young woman from Greenwich Village who likes talking about herself he says, “as human beings go you are mediocre in all respects except in the quantity of your fortune.”

. . . .


By J.G. Ballard (2000)

3. Lured by tax concessions, a Mediterranean climate and a Euro-corporate lifestyle, dozens of multinational companies have moved their business into Eden-Olympia, a business park populated by a highly paid elite of senior managers, administrators and entrepreneurs. The flawed and dangerous antihero of this dystopia of technology is the staff psychiatrist Wilder Penrose, an “amiable Prospero” with evasive eyes and an eager smile, who steers his clients’ darkest dreams toward the daylight. Wilder’s vision is to create an intelligent modern city that promotes advanced health screening, up-to-the-minute gadgetry and the replacement of the civic with the commercial. But as the novel proceeds, it becomes clear that Wilder is more concerned with exciting the base instincts of those in charge. He explains to the book’s protagonist, Paul, that ever since he organized the drug and vice rings and a leather-jacketed “bowling club” whose sorties into the outside world leave Arab pimps and Senegalese trinket merchants bleeding in the gutters, the park’s chief executives no longer complain of stress and burnout and profits have soared.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

1 thought on “Infamous Fictional Psychiatrists”

Comments are closed.