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Jacobson, L. (2016). Narcissism: An Appreciation: The Right to Narcissism: The Case for an Im-Possible Self-Love by PleshetteDeArmitt. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2014. 192 pp. Art in the Offertorium: Narcissism, Psychoanalysis, and Cultural Metaphysics by Harvey Giesbrecht and Charles Levin. New York, NY: Rodopi, 2012. 268 pp. The Americanization of Narcissism by Elizabeth Lunbeck. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. 367 pp. Evolving Lacanian Perspectives for Clinical Psychoanalysis: On Narcissism, Sexuation, and the Phases of Analysis in Contemporary Culture by Raul Moncayo. London, England: Karnac Books, 2008. 284 pp. Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory by Jerrold M. Post. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 252 pp. Narcissism and Its Discontents by Julie Walsh. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 182 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 52(3):457-477.

(2016). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 52(3):457-477

Narcissism: An Appreciation: The Right to Narcissism: The Case for an Im-Possible Self-Love by PleshetteDeArmitt. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2014. 192 pp. Art in the Offertorium: Narcissism, Psychoanalysis, and Cultural Metaphysics by Harvey Giesbrecht and Charles Levin. New York, NY: Rodopi, 2012. 268 pp. The Americanization of Narcissism by Elizabeth Lunbeck. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. 367 pp. Evolving Lacanian Perspectives for Clinical Psychoanalysis: On Narcissism, Sexuation, and the Phases of Analysis in Contemporary Culture by Raul Moncayo. London, England: Karnac Books, 2008. 284 pp. Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory by Jerrold M. Post. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 252 pp. Narcissism and Its Discontents by Julie Walsh. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 182 pp.

Lawrence Jacobson, Ph.D.

If you scan the psychology, self-help, and business shelves in a major bookstore (if you live somewhere they can still be found), you will see that the six recent books on narcissism that prompted this review are just a few among many. For some decades narcissism has been a psychoanalytic concept with currency in the general culture. Though its

use may have peaked in the 1990s, at the time of controversy about the place of self-esteem building in American education, it is still high. Entering “narcissism” as a keyword at Amazon will bring forth some 2,000 titles, nearly 1,000 of them with publication dates since 2010. Even allowing for repeat entries this is impressive.

And narcissism is about as purely psychoanalytic an idea as there is. Though the myth of Narcissus is ancient, “narcissism” was used only twice in minor ways before Freud. When a professional term has been so adopted by the vernacular one might suspect it has been terribly misused or watered down, but this turns out not to be so. Unlike “the unconscious,” which often these days means little more than mental processing outside awareness and otherwise bears little resemblance to the psychoanalytic concept, the notion of narcissism that has been taken up by the culture is very much that of Freud and psychoanalysis. A quick look through self-help books shows that although the concept may not be examined at great depth, it is often used with subtlety and a grasp of its multifaceted and paradoxical nature.

[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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