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Perelberg, R.J. (1998). Real Events Revisited: Fantasy, Memory and Psychoanalysis by Ann Scott. Published by Virago, London, 1996; xxxiv + 190 pages; £12.99. Brit. J. Psychother., 14(3):380-382.

(1998). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 14(3):380-382

Real Events Revisited: Fantasy, Memory and Psychoanalysis by Ann Scott. Published by Virago, London, 1996; xxxiv + 190 pages; £12.99

Review by:
Rosine Jozef Perelberg

In his 1915 paper on the Unconscious, Freud already put forward his thesis that the unconscious is present in the gaps between the observable. The psychoanalytic domain is the domain of that which is, in fact, not accessible to observation but can only be reached through its derivatives. Thus it is easier to say what it is not than what it is: an absence of negation, of a sense of time, characterized by thing presentation, symbolism and metaphors. The psychoanalytic domain is thus characterised by that which escapes us all the time, and which makes its presence felt through its absence. The capacity to bear uncertainty and not knowing may become especially difficult in situations which are traumatic like in child sexual abuse.

These thoughts were evoked in me by reading Ann Scott's courageous and lucid book, which tackles central issues in contemporary psychoanalysis. The author takes the reader on a journey through many scenes: from Freud's clinical cases to theatre and literature, from the therapeutic setting to ads in newspapers, from a scrutiny of the psychoanalytic literature to the observation of sugar packets in a café near London's Oxford Circus. One can only admire the fluidity with which the author moves between these domains, establishing links, inviting reflection and expressing her capacity to sustain psychoanalytic thinking. Central to the book are the connections between memories, phantasies, events and reminiscences and how these relate to a conceptualization of time.

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