Today in the Frye Diaries, 25 August

vicar

1942: Merely this enigmatic entry:

[80] The Vicar of Bray never got to be a bishop.

[Pictured above as a Royal Doulton figurine.]

1950: Frye wonders if his hay fever is a psychosomatic illness.

[573]… My disease encourages me to sleep in even later in the morning. Today I gave up entirely & read a book on psychosomatic medicine by Helen Flanders Dunbar. I don’t see how she can be the same person as the author of that book on Dante’s symbolism, but the coincidence of names is curious. [Ed. She is in fact the same woman.] She doesn’t say much about hay fever, but she says the emotional pattern behind asthma is often one of repression due to a sense of neglect: if people can manage to break down and weep their asthma gets better. I’ve been told that mother was very sick at my birth & that I was consigned to a nurse who kept me doped with soothing syrup. The strong and irradicable resentment I feel against mother, and especially my feeling that most of her illnesses were due to a morbid mental conditon in which self indulgence predominated, is doubtless fed from some such infantile springs. I can even remember resenting her sleeping half the afternoon. But I doubt very much than any knowledge of my infantile feelings will stop my blood from curdling when the ragweed busts loose, nor does the Dunbar woman suggest that it will. There’s also a strong introverted resistence to duty behind all my illnesses of course.

Tomorrow: expurgated texts; wartime “prudery”

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