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Bianchi, H. (1984). Narcissisme De Vie. Narcissisme De Mort. (Narcissism of Life. Narcissism of Death.): By André Green. Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1983. 280 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:601-603.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:601-603

Narcissisme De Vie. Narcissisme De Mort. (Narcissism of Life. Narcissism of Death.): By André Green. Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1983. 280 pp.

Review by:
Henri Bianchi

This volume contains a series of articles by André Green, published between 1966 and 1980. The title expresses their common theme. In his introduction, Green outlines the debates which have taken place on the concept of narcissism on the two sides of the Atlantic, following which he justifies his own theoretical position. In his clinically derived point of view he feels that if "there are narcissistic structures and narcissistic transferences … neither the first nor the second can be conceived of or interpreted independently, neglecting the object relations and the general question of the relation between the ego and the erotic or destructive libido" (p. 14). Then, admitting that narcissism has "the right to exist as an independent entity," he does not isolate the narcissistic structures, but states that "as soon as conflictual organization reaches regressive strata situated beyond classical fixations observed in transference neurosis, the part taken by narcissism appears more important, even in the conflicts where it is not in a prevailing position" (p. 15). In the debate between Kohut and Kernberg, the former defends the autonomy of narcissism while the latter is opposed to it, "although admitting the legitimacy of a clinical distinction." Green adopts an intermediate position which consists in "not exaggerating the differences between narcissistic structures and borderline cases" (p. 16).

Then Green asks, especially in the introductions to his papers which he uses to put his ideas into perspective, whether another topography, in which the theoretical poles are self and object, should not also be utilized in psychoanalytic conceptions.

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