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Kirkpatrick, M. (1995). Women Analyze Women: In France, England And The United States. By Elaine Hoffman Baruch and Lucienne J. Serrano. New York: New York Univ. Press, 1988, xxiv + 409 pp., $40.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:1201-1208.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:1201-1208

Women Analyze Women: In France, England And The United States. By Elaine Hoffman Baruch and Lucienne J. Serrano. New York: New York Univ. Press, 1988, xxiv + 409 pp., $40.00.

Review by:
Martha Kirkpatrick

Reading this book is a thrilling intellectual adventure at times, and at other times a frustrating, puzzling, even tedious experience. Perhaps this is inevitable in a book that reports 19 interviews, with a variety of prominent women. The authors/interviewers are psychoanalytic feminists and literary critics. These interviews stem from the authors' mutual interest in exploring alternative ways to organize psychoanalytic data. They believe that women analysts in particular are engaged in this effort, which ideally will keep analysis evolving as an area of inquiry and avoids its being reduced to a doctrine to be defended. In addition, they observe women who have been energized by the women's movement turning to psychoanalysis to explain women's condition in society.

Thus, their interviewees include women clinicians who sought analytic training as a means of enhancing their skill in the healing arts, such as Enid Balint, Hanna Segal, and Marianne Eckardt; others whose personal analysis changed the way they used a previous discipline, such as Muriel Dimen (anthropology) and Jessica Benjamin (social theory); and those who combined literary or philosophical training with psychoanalytic training, as is more usual in France. The interviewers include several generations of women: Diana Trilling and Enid Balint are in their eighties, the others are middle aged except for Jessica Benjamin and Donna Basin who are young women with young children. The vocabulary changes with the generations, the questions become more trenchant and infused with feminist thinking, but the need for women to find their own voice and to recapture their intrinsic sense of agency remain central issues.

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