Life Narcissism Death Narcissism

Author(s) : Andre Green

Life Narcissism Death Narcissism

Book Details

  • Publisher : Free Association Books
  • Published : January 2001
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
  • Catalogue No : 12426
  • ISBN 13 : 9781853435300
  • ISBN 10 : 1853435309

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This title illustrates the number of forms of narcisssim met with in clinical practice, and draws attention to the duplicity underlying its structure. The author also shows that it is necessary to postulate the existence of a death-giving narcissism.

Reviews and Endorsements

The reawakening of interest in narcissism in psychoanalytic theory comes at an appropriate moment for the publication of this collection of mostly hitherto untranslated texts, all centered on one of the most enigmatic questions in psychoanalysis. After introducing the concept of narcissism in 1914, Freud was to lose interest in it when he undertook the theoretical reshaping (begun around 1920) which gave rise to the final theory of drives (opposition of the life drives and the death drives), the second topography of the psychical apparatus (Id-Ego-Superego) and his new conception of anxiety. After a period of neglect, this concept though apparently re-discovered in America had, in fact, never been forgotten in French psychoanalysis. André Green, who has been pursuing this problem with interest since 1963, is one of the rare authors, if not the only one, who has attempted to link the theory of narcissism with Freud's final theory of drives. While narcissism is generally only considered in terms of its positive aspects in which it is linked to the life drives, Green shows that it is necessary to postulate the existence of death-giving narcissism, which he calls negative narcissism. Unlike the former, which aims at achieving ego unity, the latter strives, on the contrary, to abolish it, aspiring to reduce desire to the level zero. This theory of narcissism is illustrated by the exposition of a certain number of forms of narcissism met with in clinical practice, of which the "dead mother" is one of the most widely encountered. Finally, in a study of the ego, Green draws attention to the duplicity underlying its structure, in the contradiction between knowing that one is mortal and believing oneself to be immortal - all of which conjures up the mystical figure of Narcissus Janus.

About the Author(s)

André Green (1927-2012) was a psychoanalyst who lived and worked in Paris. He was President of the Paris Psycho-Analytical Society and was Vice-President of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He was co-editor of the Nouvelle Revue de Psychanalyse. He also wrote numerous books, including On Private Madness, The Work of the Negative, The Fabric of Affect in the Psychoanalytical Discourse, The Chains of Eros, Life Narcissism. Death Narcissism and Key Ideas for a Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

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