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Reichbart, R. (2015). Revenge: Narcissistic Injury, Rage, and Retaliation. Edited by Salman Akhtar and Henri Parens. Lanham, MD/Plymouth, UK: Jason Aronson, 2014. 200 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 84(3):806-813.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 84(3):806-813

Revenge: Narcissistic Injury, Rage, and Retaliation. Edited by Salman Akhtar and Henri Parens. Lanham, MD/Plymouth, UK: Jason Aronson, 2014. 200 pp.

Review by:
Richard Reichbart

In April 2013, the 44th Margaret Mahler Symposium on Child Development was held at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; it was entitled “The Wounded Self: Narcissism, Rage, and Revenge.” I begin this review of this new and interesting collection edited by Akhtar and Parens, entitled Revenge (with the subtitle Narcissistic Injury, Rage, and Retaliation), because the majority of its chapters come directly from the presentations in Philadelphia; and because anyone picking up this volume would be well advised to expect it to speak to the original title of the symposium.

As a disquisition on revenge per se, this book is likely to be experienced alternately as delightful and disappointing, but as a study of the wounded self in which narcissism, rage, and revenge figure, and with a particular emphasis on fascinating clinical child cases, it is likely to be experienced as very satisfying. Put differently, the contributions in this book seem cobbled together under the rubric revenge (one of the chapters never uses this word, and in another it appears but once), united also by a gratuitously gruesome photograph of a bloody hand on the cover, which mislead the reader as to what to expect and actually do an injustice to the complexity and nuance of many of the presentations.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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