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Larsson, B. (2001). Die Maske Der Scham: Die Psychoanalyse von Schamaffekten und Schamkonflikten [The Mask of Shame: Psychoanalysis of Shame Affects and Shame Conflicts]. Léon Wurmser, M.D. Berlin, Germany: Springer, 1997. 564 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 70(2):488-495.
(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(2):488-495
Die Maske Der Scham: Die Psychoanalyse von Schamaffekten und Schamkonflikten [The Mask of Shame: Psychoanalysis of Shame Affects and Shame Conflicts]. Léon Wurmser, M.D. Berlin, Germany: Springer, 1997. 564 pp.
Review by: Bo Larsson
During the past couple of decades or more, I have read with great interest a number of articles by Léon Wurmser, not the least because he seems to belong to a handful of American psychoanalysts to whom philosophy is essential—Schafer and Ogden being other examples. So I am pleased to review this German edition of his English book, The Mask of Shame(1997). When I learned that this edition (probably not the last) was published in twelve cities all over the world as part of a “Master Work Series,” my first reaction was to wonder if I—despite my appreciation—had not considerably underestimated Wurmser. This was no less the case when I found that among other reviewers of the book, a leading psychoanalyst, Leo Rangell, described it most admiringly as “staggering in its comprehensiveness and scholarship, and no less so in its penetrating insight” (backjacket of book, E).
To review just this special text—i.e., the third German edition, written as part of a trilogy—is possible, but may be somewhat off the point. To do the author justice, one would need to give an opinion of all Wurmser's work as a psychoanalytic writer: how it started, what it has become, and how it developed into what it is. Such a project would, however, involve another book, and I am not going to write it.
Each chapter of Wurmser's present book is introduced with mottoes, some of them quite moralistic, like “Shaming another in public is like shedding blood” (Wurmser's quotation from the Talmud, appearing on p.
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