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Zimmer, R.B. (1992). Cultivating Freud's Garden in France: By Marion Michel Oliner. Northvale, N. J.: Aronson, 1988, xvii + 332 pp., $30.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:896-902.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:896-902

Cultivating Freud's Garden in France: By Marion Michel Oliner. Northvale, N. J.: Aronson, 1988, xvii + 332 pp., $30.00.

Review by:
Richard B. Zimmer, M.D.

Psychoanalysis in France thrives as a clinical discipline and is a vital part of that nation's intellectual life, yet the work of French psychoanalysts has historically been neglected by the English-speaking psychoanalytic community. In this volume, Oliner provides an introduction to French psychoanalytic thought and attempts to bridge the barriers of language and culture which have kept French psychoanalysis relatively inaccessible to the greater psychoanalytic community.

In the first part, "The Freudian Heritage in France," Oliner describes the historical evolution of the French psychoanalytic movement from the earliest attempts to introduce the work of Freud in France, through the bitter infighting and splits in the 1950's and 1960's and up to the present time. She describes the structure of psychoanalytic training institutes in France, the intellectual and cultural traditions of France, the speculations of French psychoanalysts on the impact of Freud's personal history and psychology on his theory, and the applications of French psychoanalytic thought to political and social issues. She presents a cogent summary of some of the major conceptual issues around which battle lines between the Lacanians and non-Lacanians have been drawn. Although Oliner's personal biases come across all too clearly, this highly scholarly (and eminently readable) section succeeds substantially in accomplishing a rather ambitious aim: to articulate the special characteristics that give French psychoanalysis its unique and individual flavor, to clarify the nature of its differences from American and British schools of psychoanalysis, and, by placing it in a historical, cultural, and intellectual context, to shed light on the forces that have led it to develop in the directions it has.

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