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Itrani, J.L. Mitrani, T. (2004). Sex, Death and the Superego: Experiences in Psychoanalysis Ronald Britton London: Karnac 2003 196 pp. £19.99. J. Child Psychother., 30(3):362-365.

(2004). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 30(3):362-365


Sex, Death and the Superego: Experiences in Psychoanalysis Ronald Britton London: Karnac 2003 196 pp. £19.99

Review by:
Judith L. M Itrani

Theodore Mitrani

It was with great enthusiasm that we received Dr. Britton's latest book. After making note of the dedication: ‘To Ritaclare, who has put up with the author of the last chapter of this book for many years,’ the reading took a radical turn (to the last chapter of the book, of course). In this chapter on ‘the narcissistic problem of sharing space’ the reader finds not only the qualities of creativity, lucidity and originality that have characterized Britton's previous writings, but also the ordinary and open humanity that is the hallmark of Britton the man.

Britton writes, ‘One thing in common between living with someone and being in analysis is the problem of sharing thoughts and sharing space’ (p. 166). Britton's book had already evoked this dilemma from the moment it arrived in the mail. With two analysts in the house - one of us also a child analyst - we decided to take turns reading the book, sharing our thoughts and the space of this review.

Beneath Britton's intriguing title, the reader witnesses the product of many years of psychoanalytic experience with both children and adults. This experience has clearly fanned out and permeated Britton's thinking about literature and social phenomena, thinking that has surely reverberated in his continued practice and teaching of analysis, further enriching and refining his clinical work in turn. In this book the reader encounters an author who is able to make room for scholarship and for heart, discipline and genuine passion that invites the reader to join him on a voyage of reconsideration and fresh evaluation of psychoanalytic-diagnostic concepts, metapsychological constructs and related clinical issues.

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