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Speziale-Bagliacca, R. (1990). Patrick J. Mahony. Psychoanalysis and Discourse. Tavistock Publications, London, 1987, 260 pages, n.p.i.. Rivista Psicoanal., 36(3):722-732.

(1990). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 36(3):722-732

Patrick J. Mahony. Psychoanalysis and Discourse. Tavistock Publications, London, 1987, 260 pages, n.p.i. Language Translation

Review by:
Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca

In Psychoanalysis and Discourse the Canadian psychoanalyst Patrick Mahony as well as professor of English literature and an expert in semiotics and linguistics, seems to continue the “discourse” started in Freud as a Writer (1987). The later work, which was first published by the I.U.P., in 1981, was an intelligent and tasteful book of such noteworthy success that it was re-issued six years later by Yale University Press. Incidentally, in the Yale edition, there is a new chapter, “The Psychoanalytic Reading of Freud”, where Mahony, among other things, elaborates an interesting idea regarding certain aspects of the relationship between every analyst and what, in a different context, I have suggested calling our “internal Freud”. Mahony states that it is necessary to analyse the transference that takes place on reading Freud's work: not only our transference when confronting Freud, depending on the text being examined, but also our transference when confronting his patient and even on reacting to the ideal reader, the incompetent reader and so on. Hence a variegated approach involving a multi-sided sensibility and a self-reflective curiosity.

I have mentioned these ideas in order to give an immediate picture of how original, but complex at the same time, are the author's undertaking and his “systematically” ambitious proposals. Psychoanalysis and Discourse gathers all that into a subtle web. We have here a very serious and committed work.

The First part of the book consists of a concise discussion on the meaning of translation in psychoanalysis: a variation on the theme of translating-betraying so dear to Freud. This is the same theme that has recently attracted Bettelheim and, in a more precise way than Bettelheim, Riccardo Steiner.

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