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Koritar, E. (2019). Sublime Subjects: Aesthetic Experience and Intersubjectivity in Psychoanalysis, by Giovanni Civitarese, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 172pgs.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 79(2):246-249.

(2019). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 79(2):246-249

Sublime Subjects: Aesthetic Experience and Intersubjectivity in Psychoanalysis, by Giovanni Civitarese, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 172pgs.

Review by:
Endre Koritar, M.D.

It is tempting to say that reading Civitarese's most recent book was a sublime experience, elevating this writer's comprehension of the aesthetic experience in psychoanalysis, but there is truth underlying such facetious humor. Civitarese takes us on an exhilarating tour of various landscapes: psychoanalysis, philosophy, culture, poetry, and literature, in a profound meditation on the foundations of psychoanalytic theory and praxis. The project is no less than a re-examination of the basic tenets of classical theory in the light of contemporary field theory and intersubjectivity, in the process proposing a new foundation of psychoanalytic theory and practice based on the intersubjective and aesthetic experiences of two people interacting in the analytic space. In the process, Civitarese contrasts the basic metapsychological conceptualizations of Freud, Klein, and ego psychology to the more contemporary theoretical elaborations of Sándor Ferenczi, Wilfred Bion, Hans Loewald, Piera Aulagnier, Jean Laplanche, Thomas Ogden, Antonino Ferro, and others. In examining the basic tenets of intersubjectivity and field theory, he embarks on a detailed and sophisticated study of the philosophical underpinnings of intersubjectivity citing Immanuel Kant, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Paul Ricoeur, Roland Barthes, Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Paul Wittgenstein, and Slavoj Žižek, among others, in establishing a rigorous groundwork for intersubjectivity and field theory as being the basis for a contemporary psychoanalytic conceptualization of the aesthetic analytic experience.

[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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