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Denis, P. (2014). Introduction to Paul-Claude Racamier's Paper ‘On Narcissistic Perversion’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(1):117.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(1):117

Key Papers

Introduction to Paul-Claude Racamier's Paper ‘On Narcissistic Perversion’ Language Translation

Paul Denis

Oddly enough, Paul-Claude Racamier (1924-96) has never been translated into English. Yet he produced a considerable body of work, most of which resulted from his treatment of psychotic patients at various institutions - in particular, the one he himself established, La Velotte, near Besançon, France. Having trained simultaneously as a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, he had been to Chestnut Lodge and was very familiar with the international psychoanalytic literature, and specifically the literature on psychotics. His institutional experience is recorded in a book, Le psychanalyste sans divan [The couchless psychoanalyst], written in collaboration with Serge Lebovici, René Diatkine and Philippe Paumelle. He was also close to Sacha Nacht, Francis Pasche and Evelyne Kestemberg. Racamier was one of the French psychoanalysts - more numerous than might be thought - who were absolutely resistant to the influence of Jacques Lacan. His consideration of ‘perverse thought’ at the end of the paper reproduced here may even be modelled on the thought of Lacan himself. An original clinician, he introduced a number of new concepts, including, for example, the anti-Oedipus (to denote a type of organization structured in opposition to the Oedipus complex), and the incestual (denoting a form of parent-child relationship that involves not incest in the sexual sense of the word but a close relationship that fixates the child on the parents and obstructs the child's autonomous development); he demonstrated the vital importance of the phantasy of self-begetting in the psychotic organization; and he individualized the concept of ‘narcissistic perversion’ which attracted considerable attention, at least in France.

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