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Michels, R. (1989). On Private Madness: By André Green. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1986. 380 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:260-262.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:260-262

On Private Madness: By André Green. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1986. 380 pp.

Review by:
Robert Michels

André Green is a former Director of the Paris Psychoanalytic Institute, former Vice-President of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and former co-editor of The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis and The International Review of Psycho-Analysis. On Private Madness is a collection of fourteen of his papers, written between 1969 and 1981, and (unfortunately) translated by a variety of translators. His introduction adds one of the most interesting parts of the book, an answer to the question, "Why do you write?" In Green's words, he hopes to provide a "testimony," a sample "of the French psychoanalytic movement of the second half of the twentieth century" (p. 3). He traces his psychiatric and psychoanalytic biography, particularly the influence exerted by Bouvet (his analyst), Lacan ("his thinking—and his personal charm—drew me into his wake" [p. 7]), and Winnicott ("perhaps the greatest [creative thinker] of the contemporary analytic epoch" [p. 287]).

Green writes more about the ideas and theories of psychoanalysis than about patients or clinical experiences. His goal is to enrich our understanding of the psychoanalytic situation and the psychoanalytic process, but he approaches this goal through studying the mind of the analyst at work. He seems more interested in countertransference than in transference and is particularly attracted by the ways in which borderline patients engage their analysts' involvement: "These cases reveal the existence of what I have called the analysand's private madness.

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