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Kirshner, L. (2019). Interpreting: for whom, and why?: The Perils of Metapsychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(4):744-753.

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(4):744-753

Key Paper Discussion

Interpreting: for whom, and why?: The Perils of Metapsychology

Lewis Kirshner

I applaud the Journal’s decision to publish this translation of the classic paper by Michel de M'Uzan, Interpréter, Pour Qui, Pourquoi? (Interpreting: For Whom, and Why?) and appreciate the opportunity to comment on his work. As a reader of French psychoanalysis for many years, I have gained a sense of its consistencies and crosscurrents, which have engendered a rich and insufficiently exploited fund of ideas. Although not one of its best-known figures, de M'Uzan as teacher, administrator, and journal editor was at the heart of the lively exchanges that engaged members of the three major Parisian societies over a 50-year period. For most of this time, he held his own seminar, a feature of the French scene that has contributed to a deepening of psychoanalytic thought over time. My direct exposure to him consists in having attended a weekend colloquium in his honour and read a number of pieces pertaining to his role in the creation of the somaticien (psychosomatic) school of Paris, as well as his studies of the limits of psychic possibility and the play of forces at the base of mental life. Some memorable publications include Slaves of Quantity (2003), a provocative study of the life and death of a masochistic pervert; Le meme et l'identique (The Same and the Identical, 2007), which deals with the problem of repetition; and La bouche de l'inconscient (1978), in which he presented his concept of the “psychological chimera,” the immixture of psychic processes between analyst and analysand.

[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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