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Orgel, S. (2011). An André Green Symposium: The Dead Father: A Psychoanalytic Inquiry. Edited by Lila J. Kalinich and Stuart W. Taylor. New York: Routledge, 2008, xii + 212 pp., $42.50 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 59(1):183-198.

(2011). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 59(1):183-198

An André Green Symposium: The Dead Father: A Psychoanalytic Inquiry. Edited by Lila J. Kalinich and Stuart W. Taylor. New York: Routledge, 2008, xii + 212 pp., $42.50 paperback.

Shelley Orgel

This volume of essays attests the continuing work of André Green, who contributed its keynote chapter, “The Construction of the Lost Father.” The book's title, The Dead Father, references Green's classic essay, “The Dead Mother(1983), whose clinical and theoretical explorations of maternal depression and the joined role of the father as the third have been widely appreciated as essential contributions to an ever more complex psychoanalytic understanding of development.

The origins and purposes of the symposium whose participants created this volume are explained by Lila Kalinich in the first of two introductory essays (the second is by Stuart W. Taylor). Kalinich writes: “Our awakened awareness of the terrorist threat after 9/11 meant that … the enemy's terms of engagement seemed no longer intelligible or predictable. … Even the dress code of the women becomes a front in the clash between Western civilization and fervent Islamism. … The sexual body is again a flash point” (p. 2). It was in 2001, Kalinich concludes, that “we were forced to question the character, the existence of the Father as provider of rules, intelligible meanings, a referee at the game” (p. 2). We now must try “to determine whether our models of individual psychology could shed any light” (p. 2) on the transformations in American culture and in the rest of the world as well.

To undertake such an effort, in 2006 a group of analysts from the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine joined with analysts and scholars from around the world in an international symposium to take a fresh look at the functions of the Father and his representations in the psyche. The editors deserve much credit for their dedicated efforts to assemble a coherently structured volume of fascinating linked essays from this wealth of contributions. Most authors regarded the killing of the Father as imagined in Freud's Totem and Taboo (1912-1913) and Moses and Monotheism (1939) as the origin of a universal imperative to represent or symbolize the Father.

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