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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Khan, M.R. (1982). Dying and Creating. A Search for Meaning: By Rosemary Gordon. The Library of Analytical Psychology, Volume 4. London: The Society of Analytical Psychology, Ltd. 1978. Pp. 186.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 63:91-91.

(1982). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 63:91-91

Dying and Creating. A Search for Meaning: By Rosemary Gordon. The Library of Analytical Psychology, Volume 4. London: The Society of Analytical Psychology, Ltd. 1978. Pp. 186.

Review by:
M. Masud R. Khan

Death preoccupied Freud long before psycho-analysis. He accounted for it at first in terms of a death-wish against the father, later to be conjugated into the now over-used concept of the Oedipus complex. A few years before he was struck by what was to prove a long and gruesomely lingering illness of cancer, he was to render the dread of death into a concept: the Death Instinct (1920). Laplanche, in his book Life and Death in Psychoanalysis (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976) gives a very succinct account of this concept in Freud's oeuvre. Yet, it is little short of ironic that it remained for a Jungian analyst, Dr Rosemary Gordon, to write the most penetrating as well as stimulating treatise on death.

The real virtue of Rosemary Gordon's approach is clearly indicated by the title, where death is not a ghost abstraction of medieval grammatology of gargoyles, nor the nostalgic yearning of Germanic Romanticism, to which Freud owed a great deal. Death in Rosemary Gordon's narrative becomes the verb of everyone's vécu. Hence death and creativity become two sides of the same penny. Rosemary Gordon's erudition is routed across anthropological data and clinical experience; hence symbol and metaphor become conscentient in her narrative. I can do no better, to give an idea of the disquieting richness of this book than to quote from Dr Gordon's postscript:

As I bring this book to a close I cannot prevent myself from expressing some profound apprehension at what we, the psychologists, may in fact be perpetrating, by probing those depths of man, where he faces his two most crucial moments: the moment of creating and the moment of death.

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