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Honey, M. Broughton, J. (1985). Feminine Sexuality: An Interview With Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel. Psychoanal. Rev., 72(4):527-548.

(1985). Psychoanalytic Review, 72(4):527-548

Feminine Sexuality: An Interview With Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel

Margaret Honey, Ph.D. and John Broughton, Ph.D.

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The work of the Parisian analyst, Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, covers a wide range of topics, including the ego-ideal, creativity, classical ethics, religious movements, perversion, and feminine sexuality. It is in relation to the last of these that she is perhaps best known to the English speaking world. Her reworking of the psychoanalytic theory of women's sexual development, presented in two papers (Chasseguet-Smirgel,1970a, 1976), has received considerable attention. In particular, this work has been acknowledged by the American feminist tradition in the writing of Nancy Chodorow(1978) and Jessica Benjamin(1985). The following interview concerns features of her work on this topic of feminine sexuality.

Chasseguet-Smirgel's clinical findings and conceptual developments should be understood not as the effort of an isolated individual, but as part of the collective endeavor of a group of Parisian analysts, including Bela Grunberger, Joyce McDougall, Maria Torok, Christian David, and C.J. Luquet-Parat, among others. It was the collaboration of these individuals, under Chasseguet-Smirgel's editorship, that 20 years ago gave rise to the important collection, Recherches Psychan-alytiques Nouvelles sur la Sexualite Feminine, later to be translated into English under the title Female Sexuality (Chasseguet-Smirgel,1970b). As Frederick Wyatt indicates in the introduction to this volume, the collection of related papers points to the existence of a particular “French point of view in psychoanalysis.

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