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Temperley, J. (1992). Psychoanalysis and … : By Richard Feldstein and Henry Sussman. London: Routledge. 1990. Pp. 288.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 19:118-120.

(1992). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 19:118-120

Psychoanalysis and … : By Richard Feldstein and Henry Sussman. London: Routledge. 1990. Pp. 288.

Review by:
Jane Temperley

To read this book is to get the impression that, with Lacan's expulsion from the IPA in 1963, there developed two psychoanalytic traditions which have paid little heed to one another—one remained based on the clinical practice of psychoanalysis, the other, if one were to judge from this book, flourishes in the academic world. The Introduction to this book begins 'As the profession rides the jet stream of a poststructuralist crossing …' and the reader is left uncertain what profession in a book entitled Psychoanalysis and … is being referred to. By the next page it is clearer that for the writers of this book 'actual treatment occupies the marginal position of the supplement'. The 'practitioners' of psychoanalysis are not clinicians but academic theoreticians. There is only one expression of anxiety that there is a risk of producing a 'hybrid form of psychoanalysis … decontextualised from the mirror of clinical relations that has customarily supported its claims'.

Much of this book is very difficult to read. The reader is presumed to be familiar with Lacanian theory and to understand what is meant by signifiers, the objet à, jouissance, the Real, the Imaginary and so on. (S)he is also presumed to know what is meant by structuralism, modernism and post-modernism. A sample of the level of explanation one does get is the definition of modernism as 'a moment of textual configuration (or disfiguration)'. At another point we are asked 'what would it mean if psychoanalytic theory initially arises as a modernist construction with moments of structuralist intuition?' Some but not all of this obscurity arises from what I gather is inherent in the Lacanian challenge to traditional manners of thinking.

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