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Mann, D. (2002). Chains of Eros: The Sexual in Psychoanalysis by André Green. Published by Rebus Press, London, 2000; 238 pages.. Brit. J. Psychother., 19(1):123-126.

(2002). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 19(1):123-126

Chains of Eros: The Sexual in Psychoanalysis by André Green. Published by Rebus Press, London, 2000; 238 pages.

Review by:
David Mann

This book is a further development of Green's ideas encouraging psychoanalysis to refocus on its origins and the centrality of the erotic. The sexual was always the cornerstone in Freud's thinking. As Green states, the importance of the sexual is: (1) its capacity to form connections in diverse registers, including the non-sexual, which demonstrates the extent of its power; (2) the sexual is transgressive, crosses limits and leaves its mark in those areas it has infiltrated; (3) the contours of the sexual are ‘endlessly varied’. (I would personally be more tentative here and say almost endlessly varied.)

Green draws our attention to the developments in sexuality since Freud and remarks that, during the twentieth century, more changes have taken place in the domain of sexuality than in all previous aeons. The developments in sexuality in the culture at large have had a paradoxical impact on psychoanalysis during the twentieth century, where Freud's inheritors have reduced the importance of the sexual in psychoanalysis. Green proposes that the Puritanism that lost ground to Freud took revenge on the founding father by getting the better of his successors. These ‘new Puritans’ include Klein and Winnicott and their followers. He is particularly critical of the Kleinian tradition in which the penis is reduced to merely being the successor of the nipple, and sexuality reliant on the feeding qualities of introjection and incorporation. Green wryly but accurately notes that the vagina, therefore, becomes little more than a nether mouth and the penis a nether nipple: ‘One could almost state that, for the Kleinians, the complete model of genital satisfaction is nothing other than fellatio!’ (p. 18).

The main focus of the book is an examination of sexuality in the psyche. Sexuality is a process which originates in and sets off from the body to the object, but also moves from the object to the depths of the body.

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