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Tip: Books are sorted alphabetically…

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The list of books available on PEP Web is sorted alphabetically, with the exception of Freud’s Collected Works, Glossaries, and Dictionaries. You can find this list in the Books Section.

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Salonen, S. (1998). A Psychoanalytic Theory of Infantile Experience: Conceptual and Clinical Reflections. By Eugenio Gaddini. Edited by Adam Limentani. London: Tavistock/Routledge, 1992, 220 pp,. $22.95. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(3):933-935.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(3):933-935

THE NASCENT MIND

A Psychoanalytic Theory of Infantile Experience: Conceptual and Clinical Reflections. By Eugenio Gaddini. Edited by Adam Limentani. London: Tavistock/Routledge, 1992, 220 pp,. $22.95

Review by:
Simo Salonen

This selection of Eugenio Gaddini's papers brings his lifework into the reach of the English-speaking psychoanalytic world. Although Gaddini is well known internationally—his name cannot be bypassed, for example, in any authoritative study on early identification phenomena—his overall scientific oeuvre has until now been accessible only to Italian-speaking analysts. Adam Limentani, a close friend of the author, has made a valuable contribution to international psychoanalysis by editing these essays. He has been able to convey to readers the development of Gaddini's thought and to characterize his gentle psychoanalytic mind. Limentani's introduction provides extensive commentary and is a helpful aid to interpretation. This is fortunate, because, for those who have not dedicated years to psychoanalytic research in the remotest areas of psychic experience, Gaddini is not always easy to follow.

Gaddini is interested in the coming into existence of the human mind in early infancy. His work is based on profound clinical experience with analytic patients; his conceptual framework is Freud's metapsychology. Gaddini is a tireless protagonist of the drive/economic point of view, as well as of the concept of psychic energy. Although reading Gaddini is not an easy task, the richness of his ideas and their clinical usefulness abundantly repay the reader's efforts.

As a theorist, Gaddini cannot be placed in any psychoanalytic school. Interested in early infancy, he approaches Kleinian ideas but at the same time is critical of Kleinian technique and the dogmatic adoption of Freud's death instinct. Gaddini himself, though not rejecting Freud's second drive theory, aims at transcending it. He wonders why nothing essentially new has been discovered about the aggressive drive since Freud's “The Economic Problem of Masochism.”

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