Cover image for Soul murder revisited : thoughts about therapy, hate, love, and memory
Soul murder revisited : thoughts about therapy, hate, love, and memory
Shengold, Leonard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
viii, 328 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
RC569.5.C55 S53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A reflection on the circumstances of child abuse, and on the consequences of this abuse. There are examples from literature and from clinical material.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In this mixture of clinical and literary studies, psychoanalyst Shengold (Soul Murder, Fawcett, 1991) returns to the subject of destructive parenting. He is less concerned with whether abuse actually happens than with its impact when it is only, or mainly, imagined and how to treat patients in either category. Chapters on Swinburne, Proust, and Elizabeth Bishop and discussion of Oedipus, Kipling, ring symbolism, and narcissism will interest readers who enjoy applications of psychoanalysis to literature. Clinicians will find useful ideas for victims of actual or virtual abuse. But Shengold will not win many converts to his pessimistic Freudian stance‘he asserts the centrality of murder as a motivational force and speaks of "the inexorability of our own and our parents' burdens of evil." He alienates the unconverted further with the assertion that those who reject Freud are not strong enough to face the painful truth. Some good ideas mired in presumption posing as science, suitable for a sophisticated psychoanalytic audience.‘E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

With this volume Shengold (Psychoanalytic Institute, NYU) "revisits" his discussion of child abuse begun in Soul Murder (CH, Jul'90). Like the earlier volume, this one is unique in a number of ways. Shengold readily admits that he sees a highly specific population of the abused--those who seek psychoanalysis as adults--and so does not discuss the types of incidents most often associated with abuse. All the case studies he presents are of individuals who experienced sexual identification problems or sexual dysfunctions (whether the childhood abuse was physical, neglectful, or sexual in nature). He is forthcoming in pointing out the impossibility for a psychoanalyst to determine whether the memories of childhood abuse are actual accounts of events or if the accounts are long held childhood Oedipal or pre-Oedipal fantasies. The author clarifies and supports his ideas with many examples, moving comfortably from examples drawn from his patients to characters in literature to the authors of great literary works. Because of the emphasis on literature, the book should appeal to a variety of readers outside of medicine and psychology. Indeed, those unschooled in psychoanalytics may think they have ingested more literary analysis than psychology and will find Shengold's interpretations, inferences, and language usage provocative. Graduate, research, and professional collections. L. G. Worthy; Andrew College