Life and death in psychoanalysis


Life and death in psychoanalysis

Jean Laplanche ; translated with an introduction by Jeffrey Mehlman

Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985, c1976

  • : pbk


Vie et mort en psychanalyse

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Includes bibliographical references and index



Most critics have come to terms with the contradictions in Freud's work by attempting to impose a unified system even at the cost of rejecting crucial metapyschological concepts such as the death wish. According to Jean Laplanche, "such variations or variants deserve better than a choice in favor of one of the other: they require an interpretation and such as interpretation implies that, as is the case with the analysis of dreams, all the elements be juxtaposed so that nothing be eliminated, that the either / or be retanslatedinto an and." In a way that Freud plainly does not control, Laplanche argures, there are at work two different concepts corresponding to each of a series of crucial Freudian terms; in each of these conceptual pairs of one of the elements is solidary with a specific conceptual scheme and the other with a second one. The entire body of Freud's work, for Laplanche, is constituted as an elaborately structured polemical field in which two mutually exclusive schemes may be seen to be struggling to dominate a single terminological apparatus. Life and Death in Psychoanalysis is a painstakingly lucid inquiry into the interpretative consequences of the conceptual and terminological difficulties posed by Freud's texts. It is an uncannily precise delineation of the perverse rigor with which Freud's most virulent discoveries perpetually escape him-and are endlessly rediscovered.


Translator's Introduction Introduction Chapter 1. The Order of Life and the Genesis of Human Sexuality Chapter 2. Sexuality and the Vital Order in Psychical Conflict Chapter 3. The Ego and the Vital Order Chapter 4. The Ego and Narcissism Chapter 5. Aggressiveness and Sadomasochism Chapter 6. Why the Death Drive? Conclusion Appendix: The Derivation of Psychoanalytic Entities Notes Index of Freudian Terms

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