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Blum, M.H. (1984). Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis. Freud and the Hidden Fault of the Father: By Marie Balmary. Translated by Ned Lukacher. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. 184 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:603-606.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:603-606

Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis. Freud and the Hidden Fault of the Father: By Marie Balmary. Translated by Ned Lukacher. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. 184 pp.

Review by:
Martin H. Blum

Within her costume of French intellectualism, tricked out with the passementerie of structuralism and Lacan, Marie Balmary is actually a woman with a mission. In her Introduction, she describes the solitary nature of her path and the lack of support which she has gotten from the psychoanalytic establishment. This is not to be wondered at, since, if she were to have her way, she would turn that establishment on its head.

At the heart of her enterprise is her appeal for her poor ones: the children, innocent and tortured, who have been dehumanized by the interpersonal impact of the defenses with which their parents have ringed their own acts of moral turpitude. She accuses psychoanalysis of further compounding that crime by insisting on tracing neurosis to a supposed origin in the patient's own illicit desires instead of properly bearing witness to the cruelties which have been inflicted in reality.

She envisions a tragic link between the generations, forged as the child-victim of today grows inevitably into the adult who will in turn victimize other innocents. She feels that Sigmund Freud betrayed his own awareness of this tragic vision when, on the first anniversary of his father's death, he abruptly renounced the seduction theory (i.e., the culpability of the parents) and substituted for it a truncated version of the Oedipus legend which made the development of neurosis an after-product of the child's own initiative. Freud's Oedipus is scotomatized, Balmary insists, because, in individualizing the motives that led Oedipus to his deeds, Freud blatantly ignored the major thrust of the legend, the working out of evil from parent to child.

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