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Marbeau-Clairens, B. (1996). La Consignation Du Sublimable [The Placing On Record Of The Sublimable]. : By J. M. Porret. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, ‘Le Fil Rouge’, 1994. Pp. 249.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:1250-1251.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:1250-1251

La Consignation Du Sublimable [The Placing On Record Of The Sublimable]. : By J. M. Porret. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, ‘Le Fil Rouge’, 1994. Pp. 249.

Review by:
Beatrice Marbeau-Clairens

Serge Lebovici's foreword summarises the book, praises its theoretical rigour and makes one want to read it.

The author begins with a detailed account of the place of sublimation in Freud's first theory of drives. The formation of the drive for knowledge is stated to ensue from the sublimation of the drive for mastery, which itself draws its sexual dimension from the analsadistic drives. There follows a close analysis of Freud's variants, qualifications and second thoughts as applied by him over the years to his initial formulations. The later reintroduction of repression, which he had first excluded from the process of sublimation, is an example of such a modification.

The concept of the ‘aim-inhibited drive’ was introduced in 1921 in the second theories of the drives. The author considers that when the subject becomes aware of the existence of the real father and of the mother's cathexis of him, this gives rise to a ‘decathexis of the trans-narcissistic relationship of the child with the mother's body’, thereby obliterating the manifestations of the child's destructive drives and favouring the emergence of affection. In his comments on Freud's concepts, Porret draws in particular on the work of Laplanche and Green.

Again, any activity that generates structural change is necessarily destructive of at least a part of the former state, so that it assigns to a part of the drive a different aim from its original destructive aim. In the author's view, curiosity, the drive to investigate, can be seen as a complete and successful sublimation of the aggressive drive. Inhibition of the initial aim of the destructive drives is the vehicle whereby the superego eventually performs its function of secondary inhibition of the sexual aim in the sublimation process.

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