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Compton, A. (1996). The Birth of Hatred. : Edited by Salman Akhtar, Selma Kramer and Henri Parens. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson. 1995. Pp. 172.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:838-839.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:838-839

The Birth of Hatred. : Edited by Salman Akhtar, Selma Kramer and Henri Parens. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson. 1995. Pp. 172.

Review by:
Allan Compton

The eight chapters in this book were originally papers presented at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Margaret Mahler Symposium in April 1994. There are chapter-specific bibliographies and a final index in common. Kramer provides a general introduction to the topic, and Neubauer a concluding summary. Chapters by Blum, Kernberg and Pine are discussed, respectively, by Parens, Akhtar, and Holmes. The sub-title ‘Developmental, Clinical and Technical Aspects of Intense Aggression’ better captures the content than does the title ‘The Birth of Hatred’. There is no unifying concept of hate that carries across the chapter boundaries, which may produce stimulation or confusion for various readers.

Selma Kramer focuses on aggression between parents and children, with strong emphasis on aggression of parents towards children. She sees, for example, sending young men to war as an expression of filicidal impulses of ‘fathers who hate’ and of ‘parental hostility towards children’. There is no effort to differentiate the concepts of aggression, hate and hostility.

Harold Blum makes an expansive effort to consider aggression, destructive aggression, hostility and hate, focusing mostly on social and developmental aspects. He mentions Freud's 1915 delineation of love and hate (‘Instincts and their vicissitudes’, S.E. 14) as attitudes of the ‘ego’ towards objects, but does not give this formulation any central position. Henri Parens, in his discussion of Blum's chapter, gives serious attention to trying to define the various terms which are central to the book.

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