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Riggs, B.C. (1987). Depression and Creativity: By André Haynal. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1985. 271 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:708-711.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:708-711

Depression and Creativity: By André Haynal. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1985. 271 pp.

Review by:
Benjamin C. Riggs

The title of this book is misleading. The author follows a wandering path through a wide sampling of the literature and offers many original ideas of his own, but this is strictly limited to the subject of depression. There is one brief mention of creativity in the introduction and one short chapter near the end on "Cultural Creativity," which is never defined, but that is all.

The preface contains the clearest piece of writing. In it the author discusses depression as essentially an affective state, its relation to losses and attempts at reparation, and the distinction between depression on the one hand and psychic pain on the other, against which depression is seen as a defense. He explores the difference between these two and between anxiety and guilt. The implication throughout, occasionally overtly stated, is that both depression and anxiety are ubiquitous in psychoanalytic work and play a universal part—to some degree—in painful human experience.

The book is divided into two parts. The first presents the author's own views. The second is devoted to a historical survey of the evolution of psychoanalytic thought on depression, beginning with a summary of Freud's original contributions.

The first part consists of thirteen rather disconnected essays. They move from the subjects of depressive affect, childhood (especially in connection with the Anlagen of depressive character structure), and helplessness, to mourning, death, introjection and identification, superego, defenses, and boredom.

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