The Child Is Father Of the Man: ROBERT BLY

How ROBERT BLY transformed his struggle with an alcoholic dad into a strange, mythicized phenomenon of celebrity and mass therapy

Failure is the toughest American wilderness. Robert Bly, who is now a leader of the men's movement and author of Iron John, spent some years in the territory. His wilderness lies three hours west of Minneapolis, out toward the South Dakota border, in flat farm country around Madison (pop. 2,000), Minn., "the Lutefisk Capital of the World."

Bly was the high school valedictorian who went to hell, who might have amounted to something as a farmer but instead lived on a spread his father gave him. He raised four children but otherwise, in Madison's eyes, produced nothing except obscure poetry for...

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