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Feuchtwang, M. (1986). Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel: The Ego Ideal. Free Association Books, 1985. Hardback £18.50; paperback £8.95.Creativity and Perversion. Free Association Books, 1985. Hardback £11.95; paperback £6.95.. J. Child Psychother., 12(1):113-114.
    

(1986). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 12(1):113-114

Reviews

Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel: The Ego Ideal. Free Association Books, 1985. Hardback £18.50; paperback £8.95.Creativity and Perversion. Free Association Books, 1985. Hardback £11.95; paperback £6.95.

Review by:
Miranda Feuchtwang

The translation into English by Paul Barrows of The Ego Ideal and the publication of Creativity and Perversion, based on the lectures given by Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel as Freud professor at University College, London 1982-83 is timely and much to be welcomed. Chasseguet-Smirgel's concerns are in the best tradition of classical psychoanalytic thought, a reminder that psychoanalysis is more than clinical practice: it is also philosophy, a living Weltanschauung of contemporary pertinence that exists within and is produced by the context of contemporary socio-cultural problems. Since Freud, individual man is both profoundly unconscious, interior and privatised; simultaneously conscious, outer directed and socialised. This constitutes a permanent tension and a dilemma.

Chasseguet-Smirgel's review of Freudian man re-elaborates the tragic/heroic struggle of the helpless and dependent human infant in us all. We are haunted by regressive temptations in the nostalgia for lost narcissism. We live in that tension of the never-to-be breached gap, the ego's retrospective view of lost perfection and its anticipation of future narcissistic satisfaction. The profound narcissistic wound in the ego, installed by separation, birth, weaning, the individuation process itself, is never healed. It admits of two solutions, the one distintegrative in furtherance of splitting processes, the other integrative and developmental. There is the permanent temptation of regressive idealisation versus the developmental solution, the cathexes of sublimated satisfactions which modify, or to add Meltzer's term, may even modulate the narcissistic dilemma of being human.

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