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Deutsch, L. (1987). Through a Freudian Lens Deeply: A Psychoanalysis of Cinema: By Daniel Dervin. Hillsdale, N.J./London: The Analytic Press, 1985. 244 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:726-729.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:726-729

Through a Freudian Lens Deeply: A Psychoanalysis of Cinema: By Daniel Dervin. Hillsdale, N.J./London: The Analytic Press, 1985. 244 pp.

Review by:
Lawrence Deutsch

In this book, the author takes the reader on a remarkable journey. He explores a host of films with very different plots, analyzing them from one main vantage point, that of the primal scene.

The volume begins with a quotation from Melanie Klein: "In a number of cases it became clear that theaters and concerts, in fact any performance where there is something to be seen or heard, always stand for parental coitus—listening and watching standing for observation in fact or phantasy—while the falling curtain stands for objects which hinder observations, such as bed clothes, the side of a bed, etc." (p. 10).

Dervin then presents a succinct, excellent review of the literature on primal scene trauma and fantasy, from Freud on. He notes that a number of writers have interpreted aspects of literature in terms of the primal scene. However, he also cites Aaron H. Esman's caution against attributing too much to the primal scene, lest "by explaining everything, [it] succeed in explaining nothing" (p. 13). He goes on to discuss Harold P. Blum's suggestion that the primal scene be given precise definition to avoid blurring the boundaries between it and other concepts. Blum noted that primal scene exposure is essentially pathogenic, whereas primal scene fantasy need not be harmful.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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