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Camden, V.J. (2014). Imagination from Fantasy to Delusion Lois Oppenheim Routledge, New York and London, 2013; 207 pp; $140.00 paperback: 40.95. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(5):1029-1035.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(5):1029-1035

Imagination from Fantasy to Delusion Lois Oppenheim Routledge, New York and London, 2013; 207 pp; $140.00 paperback: 40.95

Review by:
Vera J. Camden, Ph.D.

The Itinerary of the Imagination

Lois Oppenheim's Imagination from Fantasy to Delusion balances the tensions inherent in the sublimation theory of creative productivity developed by Freud, and the corrective additions to his theory offered by ego-psychologists and relational theorists through advancing the place and the power of the imagination as a faculty of the human mind. She appeals to recent discoveries in neuroscience to affirm that: “[The] creative endeavor, however sublimatory or relational the context in which it is viewed, is rooted in the neurobiology of humankind. Indeed, creativity, its identification of the self to the self and consequent augmentation of agency, depends upon the physiology of the faculty, imagination, through which it emerges” (p. xxv).

Oppenheim's claim for the imagination recognizes, precisely, how its functions may be viewed through the lens of psychoanalytic theories but its operations and its productions may not be reduced to derivatives of either drives or object relations. The imagination, in this sense, operates as the very faculty of perception, the sine qua non of reality itself. Here Oppenheim cites David Beres: “Without imagination, reality is only sensed and experienced; with imagination, reality becomes an object of awareness. With his imagination man participates in reality, alters it, and even to some extent controls it” (p. xxv). Oppenheim's point here is at once to settle the differences between drive theory and relational theory in order to recognize that both perspectives on human development find convergence on a developmental trajectory that ends with the enhancement of human agency and creative potential promised by psychoanalytic treatment.

[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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