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Birksted-Breen, D. (1988). On Private Madness. By André Green. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1986.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:562-563.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:562-563

On Private Madness. By André Green. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1986.

Review by:
Dana Birksted-Breen

In bringing this collection of papers to an English-speaking readership, André Green aims to bridge the gap between French and Anglo-Saxon psychoanalytic cultures; a gap which has grown from the different cultural traditions at large.

Green preempts the anticipated criticism from the other side of the Channel that his book contains virtually no clinical material by saying that clinical observation does not constitute proof of what an analyst advances from a theoretical point of view since presenting material can be modulated to fit one's demonstration and the same material can be used to illustrate opposing views. (He also mentions the perennial problem of confidentiality.) This is an interesting topic in itself which touches on the nature of psychoanalytic theorizing, its scientific status, the role of practice in relation to theory, the 'therapeutic' dimension of psychoanalysis etc. However, this is not the purpose of this book. Rather Green is aiming at a discussion of fundamental issues in psychoanalysis, integrating in his discussion the works of French, British and American psychoanalysts. This he does with open mindedness. He acknowledges a debt to the British Psycho-Analytical Society. His particular affinity is to the work of Donald Winnicott and he also pays tribute to the work of Wilfred Bion.

Green is at pains to make clear that he has never belonged to the school of Lacan, though he took part in his seminars for some years and is very well acquainted with Lacan's thinking.

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