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Aisenstein, M. (1995). On Freud's ‘Observations on Transference-Love’. : Edited by Ethel Spector Person, Aiban Hagelin and Peter Fonagy. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1993. pp194. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:423-426.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:423-426

On Freud's ‘Observations on Transference-Love’. : Edited by Ethel Spector Person, Aiban Hagelin and Peter Fonagy. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1993. pp194

Marilia Aisenstein

This is the third volume in the series ‘Contemporary Freud: Turning Points & Critical Issues’ published by the International Psychoanalytical Association. After an excellent introduction by Ethel Spector Person, the book begins with the dozen or so pages devoted by Freud in 1915 to transference love, in his recommendations on technique. This pioneering text is followed by ten interpretive variations by prominent psychoanalytic authors from different geographical areas and cultures. This makes for a rich diversity of views on one and the same subject, although convergences of approach are not thereby precluded.

Jorge Canestri's contribution ‘A cry of fire’ could have introduced this debate, but he starts by widening it. In his view, the conception of the transference is the universal mark of distinction between analytic theories, and he considers that every concept must be examined in the context of a theory in its entirety. The metaphors of fire and conflagration, used by Freud in connection with transference love, should in his opinion be understood as a warning about the fate of the passions, which are part and parcel of everyone's psychic life and of the practice of psychoanalysis everywhere and at all times. Canestri not only raises questions on, for example, destructiveness, the state of being in love and narcissism in the transference—a matter of distribution or the creation of a new entity?—but also refers to a variety of theoretical positions, including those of Sandor Ferenczi, Melanie Klein and Jacques Lacan.

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