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Astley, R. Jacobson, E. (1970). Discussion of 'Narcissistic Object Choice, Self-Representation'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:151-157.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:151-157

Discussion of 'Narcissistic Object Choice, Self-Representation'

Royden Astley and Edith Jacobson


My paper is already rather condensed and many of you have read it by now. Therefore, in the limited time available today, I will not attempt to summarize it, but rather I prefer to select from it those highlights which I consider most illustrative of the main theme.

Freud's introduction of the concept of narcissism represented a giant step which offers us an enormous theoretical aid in the study of inner mental life. In a formal sense Freud did not return to integrate the theory of narcissism with later important theoretical additions, the second instinct theory and especially the structural theory. The aim of my paper is to make a contribution in this latter direction.

When speaking of an investment of libido in the ego, Freud was not using the term in the sense of the structural concept of the ego today. It was much closer to what we refer to now as 'the self'. It is my understanding that Richard Sterba, quite a few years ago, recommended that narcissism be viewed as an investment of the libido in the self. From a somewhat different point of view, the recent work of Margaret Mahler has provided valuable insights into the problem of self-object differentiation. However, the contribution of Heinz Hartmann in formulating the concept of self-representation and, in particular, its elaboration by Edith Jacobson provide the best opportunity for refinements of the concept of narcissism

Now, to consider the term itself—self-representation.

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