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Applegarth, A.P. (1992). Women Analyze Women. In France, England, and the United States: By Elaine Hoffman Baruch and Lucienne J. Serrano. New York/London: New York University Press, 1988. 424 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:299-300.
(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:299-300
Women Analyze Women. In France, England, and the United States: By Elaine Hoffman Baruch and Lucienne J. Serrano. New York/London: New York University Press, 1988. 424 pp.
Review by: Adrienne P. Applegarth
This is an unusual and interesting book. The authors have assembled interviews with nineteen women, most of whom are analysts, nine from France, four from England, and six from the United States. It was their hope that some important aspects of the flavor of the personality would emerge, together with the style of their thinking. Therefore, the authors have provided brief descriptions of their subjects' work settings and of the women themselves. The interviews are also informal in style, affording ample opportunity for each of them to develop thoughts as they wish.
It would be fair to say that the authors have succeeded in their attempt to help the reader gain an impression of the person in various ways, as well as to become more familiar with the issues which seem to be most urgently on each individual's mind. However, it would be equally fair to say that the reader should not expect to find complete, well-developed expositions of the points of view of each of the women interviewed. The effect is impressionistic but also stimulating. Also, the differences, as a group, between the French analysts on the one hand and the English and American on the other are quite intriguing.
From France, the authors interviewed Dominique Guyomard, Monique David Menard, joyce McDougall, Catherine Millot, Françoise Petitot, Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Monique Schneider. The evidence of Lacan's influence is clear here, as even those who have not been or are not any longer his followers take account of him importantly in their thinking about theory in general and about the psychology of women. All the women interviewed in the three countries have strong roots in other fields, but the French analysts were selected more heavily from those who came into analysis from philosophy. It may be this, or it may be just a reflection of the climate of the time, but the French analysts as a group speak more abstractly, and it is difficult to always achieve clarity about what they mean. For the reader already well versed in these currents of thinking and dispute in France, these sections would be more rewarding.
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