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Abelin, G.E. (1993). Perdre De Vue: By J.-B. Pontalis. Paris: Gallimard, 1988, 307 pp., Fr 115.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:897-899.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:897-899

Perdre De Vue: By J.-B. Pontalis. Paris: Gallimard, 1988, 307 pp., Fr 115.

Review by:
Graciela E. Abelin, M.D.

Pontalis researches literature, art, philosophy, and history with the same ease and scholarship with which he penetrates the world of different psychoanalytic thinkers. The ideas of Paul Klee, Merleau-Ponty, Leonardo, Breton, Klein, or Winnicott—to name a few—are thoughtfully brought into reflections about negative therapeutic reaction, mourning, screen memories, fanaticism, dreams. Throughout this book which comprises papers written in the last 13 years, Pontalis challenges perspectives that we might have deemed to be definite and incontestable. The scaffolding is incessantly revised in the course of his research. For instance, how can we so readily accept the term "negative transference," when it implies remaining in the psychology of manifest meaning? Or, how could we accept the implication that love connects with life and hatred with death?

The book is divided in three sections, the titles of which lead toward the notion of the invisible as fulfilling: "I. Do we Find or Lose Ourselves in the Negative" (the nonpresence)? "II. Tearing Away from Belief." "III. Taking Distance from that which is Visible."

To deepen the knowledge of a subject, this author embraces the work of many. While in a free-associative process, his mind scans a wealth of information. Let us, as an example, follow his thinking in the chapter which carries the name of this book: Perdre de Vue. It means literally, "to lose sight of."

A man cries over the loss of his mother, for whom death meant deliverance from physical suffering. He responds to words of comfort referring to the ending of her painful condition by saying: "But, I will not ever see her again!" The author reflects: "And not seeing her anymore, he would in turn not be seen by her."

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