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Margolis, M. (1995). “Father, Don't You See I'm Burning?” Reflections On Sex, Narcissism, Symbolism, And Murder: From Everything To Nothing. By Leonard Shengold. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1991, 185 pp., $22.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:898-903.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:898-903

“Father, Don't You See I'm Burning?” Reflections On Sex, Narcissism, Symbolism, And Murder: From Everything To Nothing. By Leonard Shengold. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1991, 185 pp., $22.50.

Review by:
Marvin Margolis

In this recent book by Leonard Shengold, the reader can accompany the author as he continues his exploration of the dark side of human nature. Shengold, best known for his studies on Soul Murder, has enriched our psychoanalytic understanding of severely disturbed patients who have experienced overstimulation, incest, and abuse; his body of work has deepened our understanding of the pathological sequelae of such traumatic early experiences. “Father, Don't You See I'm Burning?” is a broader study that successfully applies his special knowledge to the full range of human development. In this book Shengold melds the insights of nonclassical analytic theoreticians with his own to arrive at an enhanced understanding of phenomena such as narcissism, perversion, and even normal psychopathology, while still speaking from within the framework of classical analysis. In fact, his work allows retention of the powerful core of that theory while extending its efffectiveness through bold, original formulations.

For example, in this book Shengold calls attention to the ubiquity of our murderous, at times cannibalistic, urges throughout the life cycle and across diagnostic entities. He correctly states that psychoanalysts have never completely accepted the extent and depth of these tendencies. From Freud through Klein, Kernberg, and now Shengold, we are again reminded of our need to more fully acknowledge our murderous instinctual heritage, which all too often has been heightened by trauma.

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