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Tip: To review an author’s works published in PEP-Web…

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The Author Section is a useful way to review an author’s works published in PEP-Web. It is ordered alphabetically by the Author’s surname. After clicking the matching letter, search for the author’s full name.

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Groarke, S. (2014). World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis by Robert D. Stolorow Routledge, New York and Hove, 2011; 121 pp; £15.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(2):385-391.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(2):385-391

Book and Journal Reviews

World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis by Robert D. Stolorow Routledge, New York and Hove, 2011; 121 pp; £15.99

Review by:
Steven Groarke

Writing is invariably a game of fort-da and, for the past 20 years since Contexts of Being, Robert Stolorow's innovative contribution to psychoanalysis may be seen in this way as a work of repetition and remembering. Theoretically, Stolorow's work exemplifies where post-Kohutian self psychology has got to in the form of ‘contextualism’. World, Affectivity, Trauma is a brief and eloquent résumé of this perspective. As with Trauma and Human Existence (2007), the theoretical argument in this case is inextricably linked to autobiographical reflection. The personal drama that animates the book is implicit in the epigraphs. And so if we complete the sentences, which for some reason Stolorow cites only in part, and place them in context, we find ourselves on the way to the scene of loss that lies at the heart of the book.

The first of the two epigraphs is taken from Heidegger's lecture course of 1929-30, Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik (Part II, chapter 2, para. 44): “As a creative and essential activity of Dasein, philosophy stands in the fundamental attunement of melancholy”. What does this mean for the conceptual series of ‘world’, ‘affectivity’ and ‘trauma’? To state the controversy at its most basic, the general implication of Stolorow's argument is that the ‘fundamental attunement’ of philosophizing provides the ground for psychoanalytic thinking. Of course the danger here is that clinical thinking becomes derivative.

[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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