The Skin-Ego

Author(s) : Didier Anzieu, Translator : Naomi Segal

Part of The History of Psychoanalysis series - more in this series

The Skin-Ego

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : April 2016
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 356
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 35044
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782201007
  • ISBN 10 : 1782201009

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In this classic work, Didier Anzieu presents and develops his theory of the importance of ‘the Skin-ego’. Just as the skin is wrapped around the body, so Anzieu sees the ‘Skin-ego’ as a psychical wrapping containing, defining and consolidating the subject. From this perspective, the structure and functions of the skin can provide psychoanalysts and general readers with a fertile and practical metaphor.

Anzieu's concept of the Skin-ego is the answer to questions he regards as crucial to contemporary psychoanalysis: questions of topography which were left incomplete by Freud; the analysis of fantasies of the container as of the contained; issues of touch between mothers and babies; extending the concept of prohibitions within an Oedipal framework to those derived from a prohibition on touching; and questions pertaining to the representation of the body and to its psychoanalytic setting.

This new translation of Le Moi-peau is based on the second and last (1995) edition. The translator, Professor Naomi Segal, is Professorial Fellow in French and German Studies at Birkbeck, University of London.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘It is wonderful to see Didier Anzieu’s The Skin-Ego reissued in English. The Skin-Ego is one of the most significant psychoanalytic texts of the last thirty years. It offers a radical revision of Freudian thinking, closely linked to major traditions in British psychoanalysis but also distinctively French in its philosophical and cultural reach. This sparkling and accessible new translation by Naomi Segal gives Anglophone readers an opportunity to appreciate the versatility of Anzieu’s ideas on the skin and on psychical “wrapping”, and to absorb his deeply scholarly, systematic and practical style. There is more to French psychoanalysis than Lacan – and this book is one of its most important contributions to the psychoanalytic literature.’
- Stephen Frosh, Professor of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

‘This new translation is brilliant, and makes the Skin-Ego theory very accessible; now that neuroscience and research on infants and parents have demonstrated how Anzieu was right in his ideas of an early influence on narcissistic disorders, this new translation will be very useful for young therapists who didn’t have access to this kind of manual of psychoanalytic treatment of difficult patients. Naomi Segal, who knows so well Anzieu’s developments on the origins of the capacity for thinking and its roots in early experiences, manages the task of the translator wonderfully, and captures the essence of this very original theory of containment and psychoanalytic technique.’
- Christine Anzieu-Premmereur, MD, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia University and Director of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center’s Parent-Infant Program

About the Author(s)

Didier Anzieu (1923–1999) was a French psychoanalyst and theorist whose work brought the body back to the centre of psychoanalytic enquiry. He was the author of numerous books and articles, on areas ranging from Freud’s self-analysis, group psychology, and psychodrama to theories of creativity and thought; he also published short stories, literary criticism, a drama, a book of cartoons and a study of May 1968 written from the heart of Nanterre. His research was always conducted alongside his academic and clinical practice, both characterised by inclusivity, curiosity, a broad mind and a gentle manner.

More titles by Didier Anzieu

Naomi Segal is a professor of modern languages, specialising in comparative literary and cultural studies, gender, psychoanalysis and the body. In 2004 she created and directed the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London. She has published fifteen books, of which the most recent monographs are Consensuality: Didier Anzieu, Gender and the Sense of Touch and André Gide: Pederasty and Pedagogy. She is an Academic Associate of the British Psychoanalytical Society, a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques and a Member of the Academia Europaea.

More titles by Naomi Segal

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