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Bouchet-Kervella, D. (2009). La Perversion, Se Venger pour Survivre [Perversion, Vengeance as Survival] by Gérard Bonnet Editions PUF, bibliothèque de psychanalyse, Paris, 2008; 242 pp; €24. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(3):679-685.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(3):679-685

La Perversion, Se Venger pour Survivre [Perversion, Vengeance as Survival] by Gérard Bonnet Editions PUF, bibliothèque de psychanalyse, Paris, 2008; 242 pp; €24

Review by:
Denise Bouchet-Kervella

Gérard Bonnet is a member of the French Psychoanalytical Association (APF). He has been working on clinical and theoretical aspects of perversion for more than 30 years and has published well-known works on the question in France. New editions of several of these have recently appeared, which confirm their present importance. This new book, which completes and enriches those publications, proposes an original theorization of the functions and mechanisms of perverse forms of behaviour, which he refers, whatever their considerable differences, to “a rigid and highly structured organisational symptom system” (p. 67), the specificity of which he proceeds to define.

His theoretical framework is provided principally by Jean Laplanche, with Jacques Lacan and Guy Rosolato in the background. The fundamental argument is that the scene of primal seduction, which for Laplanche founds sexuality and conspires in the birth of psychical activity, can, in the course of the pervert's childhood, be seen to have been both too exciting and brutally interrupted, leaving the child suddenly alone in a state of total dereliction, with untranslatable, enigmatic messages. This “radical frustration” is seen to have simultaneously generated in the child both persecutory internal objects, “an unconscious desire for vengeance at its worst”, and a fixation on the partial drives prevalent at the moment of relational dereliction, “in an attempt to maintain at all costs the axis of lost relationships” (pp.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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