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Death and Identity: Being and the Psycho-Sexual Drama

Author(s) : Michel de M'Uzan, Translator : Andrew Weller

Death and Identity: Being and the Psycho-Sexual Drama
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Michel de M’Uzan has derived several innovative notions from his clinical experience that are relevant not only for the psychoanalyst’s status of identity, which is sometimes dramatically shaken by his or her patient’s unconscious, but also for the artist who is deeply destabilized by his act of creation, as well as for the caring person who lets him/herself be caught in the nets, as it were, of someone who is dying.

Such are the extreme examples of the precarious nature of the boundaries of being in which the author discerns, not necessarily a pathological disposition, but rather an opportunity for the mind to construct itself and achieve authenticity.

Through this invigorating recognition of the unconscious with the emergence, at the heart of analysis, of ‘paradoxical thoughts’, the experience of ‘blurred frontiers’ characteristic of a vacillating sense of identity, the perception of an ‘every man’s land’ in which the analytic treatment unfolds, and the elaboration of an ‘original grammar’ specific to the formulation of the intervention/interpretation of the analyst during the session, Michel de M’Uzan leads us along a path that is in keeping with the purist tradition of Freudian thought, that of ‘the uncanny’ and its creative powers. And in so doing, he opens the way to a ‘permanent sense of disquiet’: ‘Where ego/I is, there id/it shall be’.

Reviews and Endorsements:

‘With the double, the paraphrenic twin, the spectrum of identities, the chimera, paradoxical thinking, the same and the identical, the economic scandal, the vital-identical programme, the work of dying, and other original contributions by de M’Uzan, you are entering the world of an analyst that harmoniously conjugates a refined description of the single analytic session with an encompassing view of the mind, or, more to the point, of the psyche-soma. Reading de M’Uzan offers a fresh outlook on clinical work and a refreshing perspective on the possibilities of psychoanalysis in various domains. Indeed, Michel de M’Uzan is a psychoanalyst who throughout his long career of more than fifty years has been able to build creatively on Freud’s discoveries in many important domains: in psychoanalysis proper, of course, but also in psychosomatics, in his work with terminally ill patients, and in the field of artistic creation.’
- Professor Dominique Scarfone, Professor at the Department of Psychology of the Université de Montréal, and associate editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Notes about the author(s):

Michel de M’Uzan is a neuropsychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He is a former director of the Institut de Psychanalyse of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society (SPP), a founding member of the Paris Institute of Psychosomatics (IPSO), and co-director of the collection ‘Le Fil Rouge’ at the Presses Universitaires de France. He has published several books on psychoanalysis, including De l’art à la mort, La Bouche de l’inconscient, and Aux confins de l’identité, as well as several fictional works. He is also the author of the Anthologie du délire (Rocher, 1956).

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