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Parsons, M. (2003). Dictionnaire international de la psychanalyse [International dictionary of psychanalysis] Edited by Alain de Mijolla. Paris: Calmann-Lévy. Pp. 2017. lst edn. 2002.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 84(2):472-474.

(2003). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 84(2):472-474

Dictionnaire international de la psychanalyse [International dictionary of psychanalysis] Edited by Alain de Mijolla. Paris: Calmann-Lévy. Pp. 2017. lst edn. 2002.

Review by:
Michael Parsons

Encyclopaedias and psychoanalysis are ideas which do not go naturally together. All-encompassing broad brushstrokes on the one hand, attention to the fine detail of an individual on the other. Reference books are not, in fact, thick on the ground in psychoanalysis, and the ones we have tend to carry an agenda or be surveys of a particular conceptual area (e.g. Rycroft's Critical dictionary (1968); Abram's Language of Winnicott (1996); Hinshelwood's Dictionary of Kleinian thought (1989); and Laplanche and Pontalis's Language of psychoanalysis (1973), which is essentially a survey of the concepts used by Freud). But now we have the genuine blockbuster—two hefty volumes of a true encyclopaedia of psychoanalysis. Alain de Mijolla, as editor, and an editorial committee composed of Bernard Golse, Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor and Roger Perron have spent seven years producing it. It was published in French in April 2002 and translations into other languages, including English, are under way.

The Dictionnaire international de la psychanalyse is a monumental contribution to the analytic literature, whose scope is indicated by its subtitle, in translation: Concepts, notions, biographies, works, events, institutions. There are 1,572 entries by 460 different authors, of whom roughly two-thirds are French. All the articles are signed, and there is a list of authors with brief information about their backgrounds. About a third of the articles were written by non-French analysts in their own languages and translated into French. Some fifty different English-speaking authors contributed, and many more from continental Europe, Latin America, Scandinavia and elsewhere. The editor comments in his introduction that the predominance among the authorship of analysts trained and practising in France inevitably gives the work a certain French coloration. There is no likelihood, however, that analysts from other traditions will find it eccentric or parochial.

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