1st Edition

The Mark of Cain Psychoanalytic Insight and the Psychopath

Edited By J. Reid Meloy Copyright 2001
    368 Pages
    by Routledge

    368 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Mark of Cain makes available for the first time the accumulated psychoanalytic understanding of the psychopathic mind. Editor Reid Meloy, a leading authority on the psychology of the psychopath, has brought together in a single collection the most historically important psychoanalytic papers on the psychopath and delineted their continuing relevance to contemporary understanding.

    According to Meloy, two theoretical traditions flow into the psychoanalytic understanding of psychopathy. The first tributary focuses on the early development of the psychopath in order to illuminate how a profound alteration in self-regard leads both to a denigration of the other and to an impulsive search for gratification in the present. The second tributary seeks to locate the psychopathic miscarriage of human potentiality within analytic theories of personality structure and clinically grounded differential diagnosis. Meloy presents the major contributions associated with both of these traditions. Included within this body of literature are the original formulations of concepts that have long since become part of the psychoanalytic nomenclature: the "affectionless" juvenile offender, the diagnostic significance of "affect hunger," the behavioral consequences of "superego lacunae," the recourse to promiscuous identification in "the impostor," and the paradoxically lethal lure of "malignant narcissism." Of special interest are Meloy's historical notes to each chapter and two section introductions, the latter major essays in their own right.

    The explosion of empirical research on psychopathy over the past two decades masks the fact that much contemporary work in this area is grounded in the clinical formulations of leading psychoanalysts of the twentieth century. The Mark of Cain rescues this intimate understanding of the inner world of the psychopath and thereby contributes to clinical realism in the face of deception, manipulation, exploitation, and even frank dangerousness.

    I. Development and Psychodynamics
    -"Primary Affect Hunger" (1937) - David Ley
    -"Notes on the Psychopathology of the Affectionless Character" (1944) - John Bowlby
    -"Conscience in the Psychopath" (1945) - Phyllis Greenacre
    -"Psychopathic Behavior Disorders in Children" (1947) - Lauretta Bender
    -"Latent Delinquency and Ego Development" (1949) - Kate Friedlander
    -"Sanctions for Superego Lacunae of Adolescents" (1949) - Adelaide Johnson
    -"The Imposter: Contribution to Ego Psychology of a Type of Psychopath" (1955) - Helene Deutch
    -"The Antisocial Tendency" (1956) - Donald Winnicott
    -"Time and the Character Disorder" (1964) - Milton Miller
    -"Psychopathy, Freedom, and Criminal Behavior" (1966) - Seymour Halleck
    -"The Psychology of Wickedness: Psychopathy and Sadism" (1997) - J. Reid Meloy
    II: Treatment, Risk Management, and Psychodiagnosis
    -"The Phallic-Narcissistic Character" (1933) - Wilhelm Reich
    -"The Narcissistic Transference of the 'Juvenile Imposter'" (1935) - August Aichhorn
    -"Some Characteristics of the Psychopathic Personality" (1960) - Betty Joseph
    -"Some Narcissistic Personality Types" (1973) - Ben Bursten
    -"Outpatient Treatment of Psychopaths" (1978) - John Lion
    -"The Response Aroused by the Psychopath" (1980) - Neville Symington
    -"The Treatment of Antisocial Syndromes: The Therapist's Feelings" (1986) - Larry Strasburger
    -"The Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the Differential Diagnosis of Antisocial Behavior" (1989) - Otto Kernberg


    J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D., is associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law.  A past president of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, he is the author of numerous books and articles on psychopathy.  He currently devotes his time to a private civil and criminal forensic practive and to research, writing, and teaching in this area. 

    "In The Mark of Cain, Reid Meloy documents the massive contribution that psychoanalysis has made to the understanding of psychopathy. It is a masterful collection of all the key contributions to the field, carefully chosen by a preeminent authority in the areas of psychoanalytic criminology and forensic psychology. And Meloy's introductions are an added bonus: they gently guide the reader through the labyrinth of the psychopathic mind in its conscious and unconscious dimensions. This is a book for all those keen to have an overview of psychodynamic contributions to the most dangerous disorder of our times."

    - Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, University of London

    "J. Reid Meloy, America's foremost authority on the psychopathic mind, has brought together in one volume the accumulated wisdom that follows from the psychoanalytic investigation of psychopathy. Most impressively, he has contextualized these classic contributions with brilliant commentary that weaves diverse perspectives into an integrated clinical tapestry that will be of great value to both beginning and experienced clinicians."

    - Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., Callaway Distinguished Professor of Psychoanalysis

    "Meloy's insightful commentaries place this integrated collection of psychoanalytic contributions to psychopathy within a contemporary context. It is sobering to recognize that over 50 years ago psychoanalysts struggled to understand the inner world of the psychopath and, in so doing, came to understand the importance of the need for human bonds of affection. They understood as well the correlation between the psychopath's failure to develop bonds of affection within secure relationships and the expression of hatred. How much hatred, how much lack of regard for the life of others, will it take for us to listen? The Mark of Cain is a must for anyone interested in psychic development, in violence prevention, in treatment of the psychopath, or in the broad partnership of justice, human development, and social policy."

    - Phyllis Tyson, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychitry, UC San Diego