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Kohon, G. (1974). A Note on "Soul Murder". Contemp. Psychoanal., 10:415-418.

(1974). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 10:415-418

A Note on "Soul Murder"

Review by:
Gregorio Kohon, Ph.D.

consciousness is history and the unconscious is destiny.
—Paul Ricoeur

M. Schatzman: Soul Murder: Persecution in the Family New York: Random House, 1973. $6.95.

WHO ASPIRES TO KNOW a man should leave him to one side as early as possible. This proposition of Van Der Berg becomes crucial in the case of Schreber: Daniel Paul must be found precisely where he is not to be found. In Schatzman's work we soon discover that in Schreber's "lava of spiritual catastrophe" the eyes that we see are not his: the look we discover in them is that of his father.

It is the look of the Other, when it is loving or friendly, which indicates to us that we are someplace. If the look invalidates us, disqualifies us, our arm no longer knows what it does nor that it does it: our body will no longer have the right of movement. The space which bestows meaning on Daniel Paul's movements is rooted in the severe look of the father, in the permanent memory of his errors that the punishment board imposes on him. His movements and his nonmovements, his rigidity, are what they are thanks to the movements of those who surround him. The landscape-world thus acquires a meaning: the state of Schreber's murdered soul finds its context there and, consequently, its meaning.


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