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Steen, J. (2020). Freud, Sullivan, Mitchell, Bion, and the Multiple Voices of International Psychoanalysis by Marco Conci, New York, International Psychoanalytic Books, 2019, 721pp., $35.00.. Psychodyn. Psych., 48(3):356-360.
(2020). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 48(3):356-360
Freud, Sullivan, Mitchell, Bion, and the Multiple Voices of International Psychoanalysis by Marco Conci, New York, International Psychoanalytic Books, 2019, 721pp., $35.00.
Review by: John Steen, M.D., M.S.W.
Marco Conci's newest publication is an anthology of previously published papers prefaced by new introductions. The volume aims to solidify the Italian analyst's legacy as a champion of “international psychoanalysis,” an orientation to post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought and practice based on collaboration across continents, languages, institutions, and theoretical schools. Beginning with Freud and moving on to three English-speaking analysts whose work Conci has been instrumental in introducing to European audiences, Multiple Voices places special emphasis on psychoanalysis' epistolary archive and psychoanalysts' biographies. In Conci's telling, Freud, Sullivan, Mitchell, and Bion remain significant for psychoanalysis today not only because of what they wrote, but also because of the lives that underwrite the work, lives of private correspondence and private suffering. The most noteworthy, as well as the most frustrating, aspect of the volume is its style, a form of collage writing that foregrounds the “multiple voices” of dozens of forebears and colleagues, often at the expense of a unifying perspective. The book's title appears unwieldy at first, but it hints at Conci's inclusive and exhaustive mode of working, something more akin to Walter Benjamin's (1999)Arcades Project than traditional scholarship. Rather than a dogmatic or dramatic through-line that would draw attention to Conci, his writing, like an analysis itself, proceeds by gathering fragments and metabolizing them in pursuit of insight.
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