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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

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Esman, A.H. (2015). From Freud to Kafka: The Paradoxical Foundation of the Life-and-Death Instinct. By Philippe Refabert; translated by Agnes Jacob. London: Karnac Books, 2014, xii + 133 pp.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(4):847-850.
    

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(4):847-850

From Freud to Kafka: The Paradoxical Foundation of the Life-and-Death Instinct. By Philippe Refabert; translated by Agnes Jacob. London: Karnac Books, 2014, xii + 133 pp.

Review by:
Aaron H. Esman

Philippe Refabert, the author of this rather unusual book, is identified as a prominent and prolific French psychoanalyst, though he appears to be little known in this country. He introduces himself to the reader under the transparent mask of “the man from the country,” describing in some detail “the man's” experiences as a patient in a succession of increasingly satisfying (or decreasingly frustrating) analyses that led, ultimately, to his undertaking the profession himself. as an analytic scholar, he has devoted himself to the early literature, with particular emphasis on Freud's conception of the oedipus complex. Indeed, the first half of this book consists largely of a rather strenuous effort, buttressed by extensive reference to Sophocles and the Odyssey, to refute what he sees as Freud's (and at least one of his own analyst's) single-minded focus on the child's oedipal fantasies and their developmental (and generally negative) consequences.

In his relentless pursuit of this theme, Refabert tends to ignore other of Freud's ideas about infantile sexuality and its possible aftermaths, such as those set forth in Three Essays in the Theory of Sexuality (1905); further, he dismisses the potential role of constitutional factors in the evolution of temperament and character. Rather, he, along with a number of other French analysts, appears to adopt with enthusiasm what they construe as Winnicottian views about the vagaries of the mother-infant relationship as the sole determinant of personality development.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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