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Steiner, R. (1984). Sulle Spalle Di Freud: By Roberto Speziale Bagliacca. Rome: Astrolabio. 1983. Pp. 104.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:239-239.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:239-239

Sulle Spalle Di Freud: By Roberto Speziale Bagliacca. Rome: Astrolabio. 1983. Pp. 104.

Review by:
Riccardo Steiner

The title of this book by Roberto Speziale Bagliacca, an Italian psychoanalyst, echoes that of the famous piece of research by the American sociologist, R. K. Merton, 'On the shoulders of giants'. In his research, Merton had played on Western culture's use down the centuries of the expression, 'Even dwarfs, on the shoulders of giants, can see further than they'.

Speziale Bagliacca's book begins with an Introduction, followed by two central chapters. The first of these is devoted to a re-examination of the famous case of the Wolf-Man treated by Freud. It deals with the difficulties the case presented him with, and the importance and profound implications on technical, personal and institutional levels that the way Freud dealt with this patient had for the history of psychoanalysis.

The following chapter studies certain aspects of the personality of Jacques Lacan, and the distinguishing features of his writing and teaching methods, together with their influence on psychoanalysis in France and elsewhere. The book closes with a conclusion.

The author has chosen what he feels are two episodes of particular significance in the past and recent history of psychoanalysis, and shows how they can be better understood and evaluated in terms of their influence, bearing in mind the characteristics of the primitive unconscious fantasies based not only on paternal but also on maternal identification mobilized by Freud and Lacan.

Whilst Speziale Bagliacca naturally insists on the fact that in Freud and Lacan we are dealing with two different personalities and environments, in his view they both had particular difficulty in confronting the problem of maternal transference.

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