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Perron, R. (1999). Emprise et satisfaction. Les deux formants de la pulsion [Mastery and satisfaction, the two formants of the drive]: Paul Denis. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 1997. Pp. 262. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(5):1036-1038.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(5):1036-1038

Emprise et satisfaction. Les deux formants de la pulsion [Mastery and satisfaction, the two formants of the drive]: Paul Denis. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 1997. Pp. 262

Review by:
Roger Perron

The author of this volume finds it surprising that Freud made only occasional reference to the concept of mastery following the interest he took in his early writings. There are various possible explanations, including the wish not to appear to be lending support to Adler or Jung in their desexualising theoretical divergences. This has resulted in a tendency since Freud to disregard the concept. Yet, even if the term itself is quite uncommon in Freud's writings, Denis demonstrates quite brilliantly how it underlies the whole of metapsychology.

This is an ambitious project that undertakes a fundamental reformulation of drive theory and consequent reconsideration of the essentials of metapsychology.

Like many French-speaking analysts, the author contends that the drive is the basis of all psychic functioning. He notes that Freud put forward in succession not two drive theories, as is commonly held, but four: in 1905 he contrasted the sexual drives with the ‘instincts [drives] of mastery’; the antithesis was between the sexual and self-preservative drives in around 1910; then it was sexual drives versus narcissism; and finally, in 1920, there was the dualism of the life and death drives.

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