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Perris-Myttas, M. (2004). Siblings: Sex and violence By Juliet Mitchell Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 2004. 252 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):1049-1052.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):1049-1052

Siblings: Sex and violence By Juliet Mitchell Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 2004. 252 pp.

Review by:
Marina Perris-Myttas

In the preface of her book Siblings, Juliet Mitchell characterises it as ‘a second way station’, the one that follows Mad men and Medusas (2000) in the journey her intellectual endeavours and her work as a psychoanalyst have taken her. I was thankful for this sign-posting as I think that it is the backbone of this book: the questioning of the primacy of the Oedipus complex in the structuralisation of the internal world within psychoanalytic theory; the same questioning also constitutes the core of Mitchell's book Mad men and Medusas. Furthermore, Siblings, like Mad men and Medusas, draws from literary works, from different cultures and from different periods in history. In both books she uses the methods from the trend of deconstruction for the exploration of her material.

Siblings is made up of nine chapters, some of which are based on lectures that were given in the past to diverse audiences in different cities and different countries. I find it therefore a great achievement that there is a clearly identifiable central thread at work: the study of the influence of the sibling relationships in the psychic structuralisation and its place in the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. Even with this central thread, however, which runs through most of the chapters of the book giving it its cohesion, the reader is taken to excursions on adjacent areas of interest such as hysteria, gender relations and attachment, constituting a broad canvas.

In the confines of this review I will stay close to the main thread.

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