On the Destruction and Death Drives

Author(s) : Andre Green, Editor : Howard B. Levine, Translator : Steven Jaron

On the Destruction and Death Drives

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : June 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 176
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 96260
  • ISBN 13 : 9781912691647
  • ISBN 10 : 9781912691

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‘Living with the idea of bearing a death-force fundamentally directed at oneself is hardly easy to admit. It is less so in any case than the idea that we are all murderers, that we are ever ready to plead legitimate defence or the need to survive so as to strike out at another.’ André Green, from the Foreword

André Green was a key figure in contemporary psychoanalysis, who embraced philosophy and an international outlook to enhance psychoanalytic theory. This book was one of his last works, originally published in French as Pourquoi les pulsions de destruction ou de mort? in 2012. Green’s defence of one of Freud’s most daring revisions of his drive theory remains relevant to psychoanalytic work today, and it is an honour to bring this excellent translation to the English-speaking world. To enhance its worth, the book includes an introduction from translator Steven Jaron to clarify certain technical terms and situate the book within Green’s oeuvre. This book is an important contribution to the development of psychoanalytic theory and essential reading for all trainee and practising psychoanalysts.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This volume, which offers readers a unique, impressive integration of the essential contributions of André Green to psychoanalytic theory and treatment, is an essential synthesis of major advances in psychoanalytic theory and approaches to clinical work. Starting not only with Freud’s conclusions, but with an identification with Freud’s method of thinking, Green expands the reach of Freud’s metapsychology and therapeutic approach beyond neurosis to the territory of severe psychopathology: borderline conditions, severe narcissistic structures, and the total universe of primitive psychopathologies that could not respond to the classical psychoanalytic approach. It is warmly recommended to psychoanalytic clinicians, researchers, teachers, and students.’
Otto F. Kernberg, MD, professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine

‘More than ten years after his death, André Green remains one of the most important thinkers and clinicians in contemporary psychoanalysis. In this volume, from the perspective of Freud’s final drive theory, Green examines the status and deepens the place of the death drive in psychoanalytic metapsychology, the clinic, and in culture and history. While the concept of a death drive may remain controversial, the fact of destructiveness is, without a doubt, at stake within most of our patients and within our society. Reading this book opens the mind to a large and modern practice of psychoanalysis and a deepened understanding of contemporary sociopolitical events.’
Evelyne Sechaud, past president, European Psychoanalytic Federation (EPF/FEP) and past president, French Psychoanalytic Association (APF)

Table of Contents

Introduction by Howard B. Levine
Translator’s Note
On the Edition of 2010

Chapter 1: Foundations
I.I Hypotheses on the Genesis of the Death Drive
I.II From the Repetition Compulsion (Constraint) to Primal Reproduction
I.III The Retractable Scaffolding of Narcissism
I.IV The False Symmetry of Sadomasochism
I.V Reworkings, Advances, Transpositions
I.VI Conclusion: Transcendence in Freud
Note on Empedocles of Acragas

Chapter 2: The Death Drive’s Shockwave: Ferenczi, Melanie Klein, Bion, Winnicott, Lacan and Others. Remarks on Some Clinical Structures
II.I Ferenczi and Mutual Analysis
II.II Melanie Klein and Full-Blown Destruction
II.III W.R. Bion and the Return to Thinking
II.IV D.W. Winnicott: The Environment-Individual Pair
II.V French Contributions from Lacan to Balier
II.VI Pierre Marty’s Psychosomatics
II.VII Disruption of Self-Preservation
II.VIII The Unity and Diversity of Depression
II.IX Pathology and Normality of Suicide(s)
II.X Brief Remarks on Clinical Practice

Chapter 3: The Death Drive in the Social Field: Civilization and Its Discontents
III.I The Death Drive in Culture
III.II Primal Parricide
III.III Recent Discussions on Cultural Process
III.IV The Death Drive and Language: Laurence Kahn

Appendix: The Return to Biology: Apoptosis or Self-Programmed Natural Death
Leave-Taking, Updated
Tentative Conclusion

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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Howard B. Levine is a member of the faculty at the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England East, a member of the faculty and supervising analyst at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, and is in private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is a founding member of the Group for the Study of Psychoanalytic Process and the Boston Group for Psychoanalytic Studies, Inc.

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Steven Jaron, PhD, is a Paris-based psychoanalyst. He trained at the Psychoanalytic Society for Research and Training (SPRF) and his books include Edmond Jabès: The Hazard of Exile (Legenda) and, Christopher Bollas: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge). He works at the Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital and in private practice.

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