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Kristeva, J. (2007). Adolescence, a Syndrome of Ideality. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(5):715-725.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(5):715-725

Adolescence, a Syndrome of Ideality

Julia Kristeva

Translated by:
Michael Marder, Ph.D. and Patricia I. Vieira

1. Polymorphous Perversity versus Adolescence, Or the Theoretician versus the Believer

The recent centennial celebration of Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) has brought to my awareness a major fact likely to shed light on an experience familiar to parents and to psychoanalysts: “polymorphous perversity” of the child has overshadowed adolescence.

Of course Freud's successors have not failed to highlight the characteristic traits, particularly the difficulties and the suffering that occur at adolescence both in the development of a given subject as well as for his or her family. Added to this is the impact of adolescent malaise on the culture of a society and its era. It nevertheless seems to me that our approaches are sidestepped by the two extremes of the psychosexual chain: to begin with the narcissistic polymorphism of the newborn child incites epistemophilic curiosity; and at the end, the paradigm of neurosis with its optimal completion in genitality.

We know only too well how fruitful this schema has been.

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