The Shell and the Kernel
Renewals of Psychoanalysis, Volume 1
Central to their approach is a general theory of psychic concealment, a poetics of hiding. Whether in a clinical setting or a literary text, they search out the unspeakable secret as a symptom of devastating trauma revealed only in linguistic or behavioral encodings. Their view of trauma provides the linchpin for new psychic and linguistic structures such as the "transgenerational phantom," an undisclosed family secret handed down to an unwitting descendant, and the intra-psychic secret or "crypt," which entombs an unspeakable but consummated desire. Throughout, Abraham and Torok seek to restore communication with those intimate recesses of the mind which are, for one reason or another, denied expression.
Classics of French theory and practice, the essays in volume one include four previously uncollected works by Maria Torok. Nicholas Rand supplies a substantial introductory essay and commentary throughout. Abraham and Torok's theories of fractured meaning and their search for coherence in the face of discontinuity and disruption have the potential to reshape not only psychoanalysis but all disciplines concerned with issues of textual, oral, or visual interpretation.