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Abelin, G. (1983). Psychoanalysis in France: Edited by Serge Lebovici and Daniel Widlöcher. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1980. 451 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 52:254-260.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:254-260

Psychoanalysis in France: Edited by Serge Lebovici and Daniel Widlöcher. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1980. 451 pp.

Review by:
Graciela Abelin

The work of twenty-four representative French authors belonging to different schools is gathered together in this volume. Most of the papers, which were published in French between 1968 and 1975, are clear, scholarly, and well documented. Whether influenced by the thinking of Winnicott, Melanie Klein, Balint, or Lacan, they maintain a dialogue with Freud's metapsychological writings. Indeed, French authors seem to like and to feel at ease with the elaboration of clinical material into metapsychological concepts. They also maintain a fluid connection between theory and technique. The ambiguous and poetic language used by some of the authors implies that no linear conceptualizations are fully acceptable. The expressive freedom they permit themselves leads to many neologisms and a general lack of a well-defined common technical language; it also creates some semantic confusion and at times impedes logical connection. Yet, this literary style does permit the expression of what otherwise, unaided by poetry, might remain ungraspable.

The best way to acquaint the reader with this important book might be to summarize some of the interesting papers, at least in terms of their central ideas. I will organize this presentation away from the categories chosen by the editors, with the intention of underlining some common threads and the diversity of positions to be found within these works.

Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok differentiate incorporation, as a fantasy, from introjection, as a process, opening up a series of theoretical and technically relevant considerations. Through incorporation, they say, the subject does away with the sense of loss and also avoids acknowledgment of the part of oneself contained in what has been lost. This constitutes a refusal of introjection, which is a process of readjustment of the self in relation to that loss.

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