1st Edition

Lacan, Kris and the Psychoanalytic Legacy: The Brain Eater

By Sergio Benvenuto Copyright 2024
    136 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    136 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Lacan, Kris and the Psychoanalytic Legacy: The Brain Eater examines the case of a scholar which was commented on by three leading psychoanalysts of the 20th century: Melitta Schmideberg, Ernst Kris, and Jacques Lacan.

    Sergio Benvenuto unpicks the complex case history of the patient he calls "Professor Brain", a man who struggled to publish his research because of his fixation on plagiarism, and who has never been identified. Benvenuto reconstructs the case through the first-hand accounts of the patient’s analysts and Lacan and sets it in the context of mid-century psychoanalytic debate. As we progress through the patient’s story, Benvenuto explains Lacan’s theories as they apply to the case: the "foreclosure" of orality; obsessional neurosis; mental anorexia; and, above all, the reasons for his opposition to Ego psychology, of which Kris was one of the most important representatives.

    This book will be of great interest to psychoanalysts in practice and in training, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. It will also be of interest to academics and scholars of philosophy, the history of psychoanalysis, literature, and cultural studies.

    1. Lacan and Kris’s Plagiarist  2. The Plagiarised Plagiarist  3. The Parrying Ego  4. The Reclaiming of Death  5. Acting out and passage à l’acte  6. Foreclosed Orality  7.  The Property of Ideas  8. The Freedom of the Slave  9.  Statement and Enunciation  10. French Controversies  11. The Missing Name  12. …perseverare diabolicum est  13.  Understanding is Misunderstanding  14. The Party and the Pope…  15. Anti-Americanism  16. Eating Nothingness  17. The Raft of Skinny Virgins  18. "Annie Reich’s" Countertransference  19. Anna Freud’s Counter-Defence  20. The Freudian Legacy  21. Interpretation and Truth  22. Laughing Unconscious  23. Reformatory Analysis  24. Adaptive Analysis  25. Analytic Idealities  26. A non-psychological Psychoanalysis  27. Psychoanalytic Exhibit


    Sergio Benvenuto is a psychoanalyst in Rome, president of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Psychoanalysis, founder and former editor of the European Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is a member of the Institute of Sciences and Technologies of Cognition at the Italian Council for Scientific Research.

    "Apart from Freud’s classic case-studies, Lacan discussed relatively few clinical cases in his seminars and written texts. The one major exception to this rule is the case of the man who came to be known as "fresh-brains man", who had the unusual privilege of becoming the subject of psychoanalytic reflection in published papers by each of the two psychoanalysts he had consulted. In this meticulously researched, tightly argued, and conceptually accessible book, Benvenuto not only surveys Lacan’s numerous interpretations of the analyses of "fresh-brains man", but also points out some of his debatable comments and his own puzzling (mis) readings of the case. This truly terrific study will not only be extremely valuable to all Lacan-scholars, but appeal to every clinician and researcher who is interested in the question of psychoanalytic technique and the enduring richness of historical cases."

    Professor Dany Nobus, Brunel University, London

    "Who would wish to pick a psychoanalyst’s brain? Dissecting the case of Professor "Brain" as approached by two major psychoanalysts, Ernst Kris, who treated the analysand, and Jacques Lacan, who contradictorily revisited it on several occasions, Sergio Benvenuto unravels psychoanalytic criticism, sheds new light on the analytic process itself, and delves into the complexities of the analyst’s desire. Benvenuto’s detailed deconstructive study is written with humor and accessible erudition, offering a stimulating read as well as an exploration of the challenges of transmission."

    Patricia Gherovici, psychoanalyst and author of Transgender Psychoanalysis: A Lacanian Perspective on Sexual Difference.

    "Like a veteran seafarer charting a vessel through contested waters, Benvenuto dedicates himself to the precise task of untying knots. True to his inimitable style, Benvenuto’s deconstructions bring a fierce, clarifying light to long-held entanglements, oversights, and prejudices, helping to draw new, vitalizing blood from a whole host of analytic artefacts. Much is to be learned from this delightful text, not only in terms of the materials at hand, but the manner in which the author works with them. Equal parts philosopher, historian, social scientist, and psychoanalyst, Benvenuto’s synthesizing style allows us to sail forth, transmitting the essentials of psychoanalytic practice and thought to present and future generations."

    Fernando Castrillon, Psy.D., Personal and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Editor-in-Chief, European Journal of Psychoanalysis