Anthony Clare

Life
1942-2007; b. 24 Dec., [Anthony W. Clare; fam. “Tony”]; b. Dublin; qualified in medicine, UCD 1966; winner, with Patrick Cosgrave, of Observer Mace for Inter-University Debating, 1964; trained in psychiatry at Maudsley Hosp., London; medical director at St. Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin; Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, TCD; presenter of In the Psychiatrist’s Chair (BBC 1984-98), and winner of the Sony Award, 1996; acted as a regular host of After Dark (C4, 1987 to 1991); issued three vols. of interviews from the series; his books incl. In the Psychiatrist’s Chair (1984, 1992, 1995, 1998); Psychiatry in Dissent (1979; 2nd Edn. 1980); co-auth. Psychosocial Disorders in General Practice (1979); Let’s Talk About Me (BBC 1981); Social Work and Primary Health Care (1982); Psychiatry and General Practice (1982), Lovelaw: Love, Sex & Marriage around the World (1986); with Spike Milligan, Depression and How to Survive It (1993); Violence, Mental Illness and Society ([1994]); and On Men: Masculinity in Crisis (2000); also broadcast Ireland in Mind (RTE); issued more than 100 research papers; served as judge in Irish Times Literature Award, 2000-01; latterly directed St. Edmundsbury Hosp., Lucan, and was due to retire in Dec. 2007; d., of heart attack, Paris, 29 Oct.

[ top ]

Works
Psychiatry in Dissent: Controversial Issues in Thought and Practice, foreword by Michael Shepherd (Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1979; [2nd edn. London: Tavistock/Routledge 1980), xvii, 460pp.; with Sally Thompson, Let’s Talk About Me: A Critical Examination of the New Psychotherapies (BBC 1981), 253pp.; Lovelaw: Love, Sex & Marriage around the World (1986); Depression and how to survive it with Spike Milligan (1993, 1994); Violence, Mental Illness and Society [The Stevens Lectures for the Laity, 1994] (London: Royal Society of Medicine [1994]), 36pp.; and On Men and Masculinity (London: Chatto & Windus 2000, 2001), 270pp.;

[ top ]

Criticism
Andrew Rissik, ‘Men in the Psychiatrist’s’, review of On Men: Masculinity in Crisis (Chatto & Windus), 262pp. in Guardian Weekly, 24 Aug. 2000), p.16 [infra]; Obituary, in Guardian (31 Oct. 2007) [online & infra].

[ top ]

Commentary
Andrew Rissik, ‘Men in the Psychiatrist’s’, review of On Men: Masculinity in Crisis (Chatto & Windus), 262pp. in GuardianWeekly, 24 Aug. 2000), speaks of ‘elaborate, uneasy ruminations [...] couched in the secular language of the consulting room’ combined with an ‘almost evangelical’ moral direction; further: ‘To his detractors, there’s something a bit Delia Smith about Clare a bit limelight-hungry and ingratiating. His gift is to be exquisitely sympathetic, fluently thoughtful, not confrontational or revelatory or profound. What he does makes excellent and often compulsive listening, but it’s a long way from the disturbing, strenuous, driven, ground-breaking, quasi-medicine-cum-quasi-magicof the great psychiatric thinkers such as Freud, Jung, Adler or Klein, / That there’s a tougher, more thoroughgoing and aggressive wisdom underpinning Clare’s philosophy is obvious almost at once on reading On Men. Clare describes a mood of apparently deepening sexual mistrust, in which women are enjoying a process of political and biological emancipation. Meanwhile men, emasculated bythe science that allows women to conceive, children without them, find themselves increasingly attacked, marginalised and psychically wounded. [...] There’s a salutary anger in this, as well as a loathing of dogma and a fine, sane, bristling common sense.’ (p.16.)

[ top ]

The Guardian, obituary (31 Oct. 2007): ‘[...] Clare was Dublin-born. From the Jesuit-run Gonzaga College he went to University College, Dublin, to study medicine, qualifying in 1966. After an internship at St Joseph’s hospital in Syracuse, New York, he returned to Dublin, training in psychiatry at St Patrick’s hospital for two years and the Maudsley hospital in south-east London, where he spent five years as registrar and senior registrar. / In 1976 he changed tack, becoming a researcher in the general practice research unit at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. He spent six years there, and during this time became a regular broadcaster, interviewing high-achievers about their past in BBC Radio 4’s discussion programme Stop the Week, chaired by Robert Robinson. This led, in 1982, to In the Psychiatrist’s Chair, whose last series was broadcast in 2001. / In the course of talking to Clare, Bob Monkhouse dissolved in tears after admitting that his mother had not spoken to him for 20 years; Paddy Ashdown wept when talking about the death of his father; Esther Rantzen admitted to him that she has always been insecure about her appearance; and Cecil Parkinson lamented the unhappiness he had caused others. / Clare’s fame was thus consolidated, and in 1983 he was appointed professor and head of the department of psychological medicine at St Bartholomew’s hospital, London. He was an inspiring head of department, and demonstrated to the sceptics that it was possible to run a department well and have a high public profile with a parallel career as a writer and broadcaster. He said that journalism had made him a better psychiatrist.’

[ top ]

Quotations
On Men and Masculinity (2000) dismisses Freud’s idea of penis envy: ‘Freud got it spectacularly wrong’. Further: ‘Women don’t envy the penis. And, unlike them, men still can’t discuss their sexuality and resolve the problem. Every man, including myself, is ashamed of the size of his penis.’ (Quoted in Guardian obituary, supra.)

[ top ]