Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: Downloads should look similar to the originals…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Downloadable content in PDF and ePUB was designed to be read in a similar format to the original articles.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Richman, J. (1974). Suicide., Jacques Choron. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972. 182 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(2):323.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(2):323

Suicide., Jacques Choron. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972. 182 pp.

Review by:
Joseph Richman

Jacques Choron argues that philosophers were instrumental in bringing about the prevailing permissive and tolerant view of suicide. His brief text ranges through philosophy, sociology, psychology, and religion—in sum, the history of Western thought about suicide—and concludes with his own thoughts on the subject. He stresses the importance of Durkheim, touches on Pavlov's theory of a “goal-striving reflex” (with a suicide resulting from the absence or loss of a goal in life), and gives a history of psychoanalytic theories from the famous 1910 Vienna symposium to Freud's later writings.

However, in spite of his outlook Choron is in many ways more sensible than other investigators. He notes that although a general mood of pessimism existed between the seventh and fourth centuries B.C., it is not possible to determine what effect that mood had upon the actual incidence of suicide. This more sophisticated observation contrasts with the observations of many writers, such as Lecky and Cavan, who carelessly assumed a direct correspondence between writings defending suicide and the actual incidence of suicide. Similarly, he defends Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther against the canard that it created an epidemic of suicides among impressionable youths.

Both the strengths and weaknesses of this book lie in its being the reflections of an armchair scholar, a student and philosopher who was more at home with ideas and concepts than with practice and treatment. My major criticism is that Choron neglects the situational, interpersonal, and family determinants of suicide. However, his book is well written and packed with information and can be recommended as a general introduction for those nonprofessionals who want to know more about the field.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.