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Verhaeghe, P. Vanheule, S. Geerardyn, F. Meganck, R. Trenson, E. (2016). Reading French Psychoanalysis, Edited by Dana Birksted-Breen, Sara Flanders, and Alain Gibeault, London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2010, 817 pp., $64.95.. Psychoanal. Psychol., 33(2):340-345.
   

(2016). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 33(2):340-345

Reading French Psychoanalysis, Edited by Dana Birksted-Breen, Sara Flanders, and Alain Gibeault, London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2010, 817 pp., $64.95.

Review by:
Paul Verhaeghe, Ph.D.

Stijn Vanheule, Ph.D., Filip Geerardyn, Ph.D., Reitske Meganck, Ph.D. and Eline Trenson, Msc

Needless to say that this is a voluminous book. As a matter of fact, it contains seven books, covering six different topics and a 53-page general introduction. Each section of the book is headed by an introductory chapter written by Alain Gibeault and followed by a selection of originally French papers translated into English. On the other hand, the book is not voluminous enough because the largest part of what is announced by the title (Reading French Psychoanalysis) is lacking, that is, Lacanian psychoanalysis. In the General Introduction we learn that the editors have concentrated on the production of two societies that belong to the International Psychoanalytical Society. There is nothing wrong with that, except that to present this as French psychoanalysis is a gross overstatement, especially in a series that wants to be teaching. This is all the more deplorable because two of the three editors note that “the single most important influence marking the unique development of French psychoanalysis has been Lacan's original and revolutionary intrusion into the psychoanalytic culture (…)” and “[h]is direct influence appears to have been underplayed by French psychoanalysts belonging to the IPA” (pp. 2-3).

Usually, introductions are boring and superfluous. This one is not; on the contrary, it presents the reader—especially the Anglo-Saxon reader—with a balanced and informed view on the differences and resemblances of French and Anglo-Saxon psychoanalysis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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