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Meyer, J.K. (1993). On Private Madness: By André Green. London: Hogarth Press, 1986, 380 pp., $39.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:815-818.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:815-818

On Private Madness: By André Green. London: Hogarth Press, 1986, 380 pp., $39.50.

Review by:
Jon K. Meyer, M.D.

Green's book is intended as "… a fairly representative sample … of the French psychoanalytic movement of the second half of the twentieth century. And this is what I would like to impart to the Anglo-Saxon reader …" (p. 3). Unfortunately, Dr. Green encounters problems.

The book itself has flaws. With the exception of the introduction, not a single chapter was written specifically for this publication. The book, therefore, is a mosaic unified by the author's perspective but not organized to facilitate comprehension. Another problem is the language. I could not tell whether the translations were poor, or faithful to an obscurity in the original. For example, on page 92 one reads, "Aversion is the reversion of a desire perceived as a perversion…" However admirable the rhyme, "reversion" in English refers preferentially to the disposition of property rights. Secondarily, it refers to atavistic tendencies. Only occasionally is it used in the sense of reversal as the context suggests. If so, is it the translator or poetic license? Whatever the explanation, the ideas are difficult enough without the numerous problems of usage.

Green feels that he remains true to the essence of Freud, but the French Freud is different from the American Freud.

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