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Minnick, C.L. (1996). In The Gaze Of Narcissis: Memory, Affects, And Creativity. By Mauro Mancia. Translated by Sania Sharawi Lanfranchi. London: Karnac Books, 1993, 210 pp., $26.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:1263-1269.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:1263-1269

In The Gaze Of Narcissis: Memory, Affects, And Creativity. By Mauro Mancia. Translated by Sania Sharawi Lanfranchi. London: Karnac Books, 1993, 210 pp., $26.00.

Review by:
Chris L. Minnick

As an American psychoanalyst who has spent the past twenty years exploring the work of Melanie Klein and her students, I found it a great pleasure to read a book by an Italian psychoanalyst who has a thorough working familiarity with Kleinian models. In this book Dr. Mauro Mancia provides an extremely scholarly synthesis of Sigmund Freud's ideas with Klein's and adds ideas from literally hundreds of other authors, including references to the Italian psychoanalytic literature as an added bonus. The book is a compilation of chapters, about half of which appear to have been written specifically for this book, while the rest are at least partially derived from previously presented or published work. The chapters are almost evenly divided between theory-oriented ones and clinically oriented ones.

The first three chapters trace the concept of narcissism from Freud's work through its elaborations by Kleinians and other European theorists, ending with a thoughtful and moderately detailed account of explorations of it in North America, contrasting the ideas of Heinz Kohut and Otto Kernberg, in particular. The fourth chapter, entitled “The Theft of the Eyeglasses and Other Dreams,” gives a detailed case presentation describing the tendency of narcissistic patients to appropriate the analyst's ideas and interpretations without acknowledgment of their origin, so as to deny dependence, evade contact with envy, avoid potential feelings of guilt, and so forth.

From this point on, the body of the book is composed of a loosely organized array of very interesting chapters on transference and countertransference, with a mild relationship to narcissism.

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