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Khan, P.M. (1985). True and False Aesthetics. Free Associations, 1C(2):61-63.

(1985). Free Associations, 1C(2):61-63

True and False Aesthetics

Prince Masud Khan

Creativity and Perversion, by Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, Free Association Books, 1985, Pp. ix + 172, hb £11.95, pb £5.95.

Dr. Janine Chassegeut-Smirgel is an internationally eminent, bilingual psychoanalyst, practising in Paris. When invited to hold the Freud Professorship at University College, London, in 1982-83, she wisely chose to give an account of her own thinking and clinical work from the past decade and more, in the total context of classical Freudian psychoanalysis and its off-shoots: Kleinian theories, ego-psychology, etc. The title of the book does not do justice either to the variety and richness of the issues discussed or to the vast cultural literary heritage on which Dr. Chasseguet-Smirgel draws; a rare asset in psychoanalysts. An earlier French work titled Éthique et esthétique de la perversion (Paris, Champ Vallon, 1984) is much more telling in its style and true to her temperament. I use the noun ‘temperament’ advisedly, because Dr. Chasseguet-Smirgel narrates her clinical vignettes with a candour and authenticity met with only in the writings of Winnicott, Harold Searles and Margaret Little. I too have been clinically concerned with these issues. A very good example of her narrative style is the account of her encounter with Rrose Sélavy (132-45).

But I have out-run myself. Let us go back and start with the author. Dr. Chasseguet-Smirgel lucidly and vigorously states her credo from the very first sentence:

Man has always endeavoured to go beyond the narrow limits of his condition.

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