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Meissner, W.W. (2003). LIFE NARCISSISM, DEATH NARCISSISM. By André Green; translated by Andrew Weller London/New York: Free Association Books, 2001. 262 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 72(2):485-493.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 72(2):485-493

LIFE NARCISSISM, DEATH NARCISSISM. By André Green; translated by Andrew Weller London/New York: Free Association Books, 2001. 262 pp.

Review by:
W. W. Meissner

André Green needs no introduction to American readers, since he is now established as one of the premiere French interpreters of Freud and psychoanalysis in the Gallic style. His work is increasingly available in translation and is becoming more familiar on this side of the Atlantic. The present volume was both translated and published in the same year and brings us a collection of Green's essays spanning the years 1966-1980, together with a lengthy preface and postscript from 1982. While the content may seem somewhat dated to American readers, it is always an interesting intellectual exercise and something of an adventure to follow the labyrinthine twisting and turning of Green's arguments—invariably thought provoking and challenging.

As we have come to expect from previous and contemporary work of Green, the discourse centers on and develops out of the Freudian corpus. Most of what Green offers is commentary on Freudian texts. But as we open these pages, we step into an almost Kleinian world of psychoanalytic mythology, the world of life and death, of the forces promoting life and death—not as dialectical opposites of manifest and conscious experience, but as cognates, inexorably and profoundly assimilated one to the other in the curious and at times profoundly disturbed and disturbing bilogic of the depths of the unconscious.

Green writes from within the French analytic milieu, strongly influenced by British Kleinianism and object relations theory, engaging in an ongoing dialogue with his French colleagues. American contributions to the understanding of narcissism and the self are largely ignored or their importance downplayed.

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