Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see translations of this article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are translations of the current article, you will see a flag/pennant icon next to the title, like this: 2015-11-06_11h14_24 For example:


Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are published translations of the current article. Note that when no published translations are available, you can also translate an article on the fly using Google translate.


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Kristiansen, S. Opdal, L.C. Ibsens, H. (2011). Thanatos, Shame and other Essays: On the Psychology of Destructiveness By Pentti Ikonen and Eero Rechardt Karnac, London, 2010; 227 pp; £19.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 92(2):495-497.

(2011). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 92(2):495-497

Thanatos, Shame and other Essays: On the Psychology of Destructiveness By Pentti Ikonen and Eero Rechardt Karnac, London, 2010; 227 pp; £19.99

Review by:
Sølvi Kristiansen

Lars Christian Opdal and Henrik Ibsens

Finnish psychoanalysis has through the decades made important and original contributions to psychoanalytical theory, and the authors of this book, Pentti Ikonen and Eero Rechardt, are among the most original Finnish voices. Up to now their thinking has mostly been known in Scandinavian countries but this publication may open up their work to a wider group of readers.

Together the two authors have explored several fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, such as the death drive, the process of binding and symbolization. From 1976 until 1992 they published extensively together, and their most important papers have now been collected in this book. At the core of the texts presented are their interpretation of Freud's later drive theory and, especially, their original understanding of the death drive, Thanatos. Ikonen and Rechard have, through a reading of Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Freud, 1920), developed a consistent theory of Thanatos which situates Thanatos as a general tendency (desire) to get rid of disturbance and to achieve peace and relief. Thanatos works jointly, in accordance with Freud's theory, with Eros which strives towards expansion, the creation of greater wholes and greater tension. The authors are critical of Freud's later references to Thanatos as a destructive drive (Freud, 1937, 1938), and also towards other interpretations of the death drive that focus mainly on destructivity and aggression. In their theory destructivity is only one of several possible expressions of Thanatos, as sexuality is only one possible expression of the activities of Eros.

[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.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.