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Reed, G.S. (2014). Racamier's ‘On Narcissistic Perversion’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(1):133-143.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(1):133-143

Racamier's ‘On Narcissistic Perversion’ Language Translation

Gail S. Reed

It is both useful and usual to locate the work of any unfamiliar French analyst writing in the half century after World War II in relation to the thinking of Jacques Lacan. Lacan left a deep imprint on French psychoanalysis not only among his followers, but also among his critics (Birksted-Breen and Flanders, 2011). The work of location begins here with Paul Denis's introduction to Racamier's paper On narcissistic perversion. Denis (p. 117) makes a general statement concerning Racamier's position on Lacan - he was extremely resistant to Lacan's ideas - and continues with an impersonal, but potentially veridical speculation that people have suspected Racamier's hypercritical discussion of perverse thought as referring to Lacan himself.

Both in tone and in content, Racamier's paper suggests his intention to make clear his disaffiliation. Not only does he substitute short declarations for the long complex sentences Lacan favored, but he engages with his reader, describing narcissistic perversion and perverse thinking with a passion that suggests uncomfortable personal experience. He shows he cares deeply about his patients, especially those he deems victims of their parents' or caregivers' narcissistic perversity. He goes out of his way at the end of his text to accept in Freud what Lacan categorically rejected: the biological, embodied person. He also opposes basing psychoanalytic theory almost exclusively on Lacan's interpretation of the early Freud. Instead, Racamier traces his thinking about perverse narcissism to two relatively late Freudian texts on fetishism (Freud, 1927, 1940) and the new ideas found there about disavowal and splitting, ideas upon which he will build his own argument (to the extent that he builds an argument).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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