Beyond Heroes and Villains

Investigating the nature of good guys and bad guys in fiction and real life

Misremembering Batman

"Do you have a thing for bats, Mister Wayne?"

 

Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) discusses psychology with Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) in Batman Forever.
Batman Forever (1995 motion picture)

"I've read a book on the psychology of Batman." No, you haven't. Not before this summer anyway.

Many people have surprised and fascinated me with how often they say, upon hearing that I've written Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight, that they've already read a book on the psychology of Batman before. They're always wrong. Until this May, no such book existed. Over the course of three years planning, four months writing, and more months revising 14 chapters with some 900 references, either I'd have stumbled across the imaginary book or someone would have brought it to my attention.

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Memory is a funny, unreliable thing, though, and I get curious about why people express such certainty about things they've misremembered. Several books of Batman scholarship came out this summer, but people were saying this to me before summer. Here are some pre-2012 books they may have mangled in memory:

Each book mentioned above is worth reading. I heartily recommend every one, although I would note that chapters within the edited anthologies vary in their value. Pointing out that they’re either not about psychology or not specifically about Batman does not detract from any of the great things they have to say.

 

Travis Langley, Ph.D. is the author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight.

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