Repetition, the Compulsion to Repeat, and the Death Drive—a critical examination of Freud’s uses of repetition as they lead to the compulsion to repeat and his infamous death drive—is in effect the first scholarly attempt to ground Freudian psychoanalysis on the concept of repetition. Like perhaps no other concept, repetition drove Freud to an understanding of human behavior through development of models of the human mind and a method of treating neurotic behavior.
This book comprises three parts. Part I, “Some Early Uses of ‘Repetition’ in Psychoanalysis,” examines repetition both in clinical therapy and in Freud’s use of phylogenetic explanation. Part II, composed of three chapters, outlines Freud’s journey to his vaunted death drive, examines Beyond the Pleasure Principle, and analyzes Freud’s use of compulsion to repeat and the death drive post 1920. Last, Part III is a critical analysis of Freud on repetition and the death drive, discusses why Freud was so wedded to his controversial death drive, and what can be salvaged from Freud’s observations and speculations. Here readers will find that Holowchak, qua philosopher, and Lavin, qua clinician, have different answers when it comes to the death drive.