'Narcissism: A Critical Reader' edited by Anastasios Gaitanidis, with Polona Curk

A comprehensive review of existing perspectives and applications of narcissism, a psychoanalytic concept that has been extremely influential in the fields of psychotherapy, social science, arts and humanities.

Ten authors from different disciplines write on the topic of narcissism, as it is approached in their specialist field, resulting in an exciting and inclusive overview of contemporary thought.

The book is a critical reader. Each author has closely examined the possibilities and limitations of different views, providing a useful resource for both students and experts looking for a deeper and broader understanding of narcissism and its various psychotherapeutic, social and cultural applications.


‘An ideal introduction both to the diverse ways in which narcissism is approached in clinical work, and to the complex interaction between clinical work and the broad cultural elaborations of narcissism. Gaitanidis and his Assistant Editor Curk cogently locate all the papers within the parameters of the wider contemporary debate on narcissism, and the book must be central reading both for counselling and psychotherapy trainees, and cultural and social studies students.’

Martin Stanton
Associate Research Fellow, University of Cambridge, Consultant Staff Counsellor, University College London


‘Dr Gaitanidis and his Assistant Editor Curk present us with a fresh re-evaluation of the venerable subject of narcissism in this most interesting and diverse edited work. After a faithful review of the psychoanalytic conception of narcissism, the various other contributors tease apart the narcissistic object-relations experience as it pertains in the individual, in coupling, in the community, in art and in other areas and disciplines. This is a singular work. I do not recall the subject of narcissism having ever before been dealt with so broadly, so extensively and so deeply.’

James Grotstein, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, Supervising Analyst at the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society/Institute


‘Narcissism is much abused for good and ill in current psychoanalytic theory and practice. This book is thus very timely in bringing together articles developing measured and critical debates about this topic, focussing specifically on narcissism and love.’

Janet Sayers
Professor of Psychoanalytical Psychology, University of Kent



  • Narcissism and the Autonomy of the Ego by Anastasios Gaitanidis
  • ‘I-not-I’: Narcissism Beyond the One and the Other by Josh Cohen
  • Tracing the Origins, Centring on Selves: Reading Kohut and Kernberg from a Developmental Perspective by Emmanouil Manakas
  • From Narcissism to Mutual Recognition: The ‘Mothering’ Support within the Intersubjective Dialectic by Polona Curk
  • Narcissism, Primal Seduction, and the Psychoanalytic Search for a Good Life by Larry O’Carroll
  • Narcissistic Wounds, Race and Racism: A Comment on Frantz Fanon’s Critical Engagement with Psychoanalysis by Julia Borossa
  • The Culture(s) of Narcissism: Simultaneity and the Psychedelic Sixties by Justin Lorentzen
  • The Psychoanalytic Framing of the Art Object as Narcissistic Agency by Tessa Adams
  • Narcissism, Individuation and Old Age by Rob Mawdsley
  • “I’m not in my own skin. I want to be in my own skin.” Revaluing Fragmentation and Narcissism by Christopher Hauke

About the Editors

Dr Anastasios Gaitanidis (Editor) is a Permanent Visiting Lecturer in Psychoanalytic Studies at Goldsmiths College (University of London), an Associate Lecturer in Social Sciences at the Open University and a Visiting Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Kent. He is also a Psychodynamic Counsellor/Psychotherapist in private practice. He is currently co-authoring the book ‘Male in Analysis’ with Tessa Adams and Larry O’Carroll (Palgrave), and co-editing the book ‘Authoring the Sublime’ with Tessa Adams (Karnac). He is also in the process of editing his PhD thesis “Death, Time & the Unconscious: Representation(s) and/of the Death Drive in French Psychoanalytic Thought” for publication as a book.

Polona Curk (Assistant Editor) holds an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies from Goldsmiths College (University of London) and is currently a full-time PhD candidate at Birkbeck College (University of London). Before coming to Britain, she worked as an architect in her country, Slovenia. She also worked as a counsellor-volunteer in a non-governmental organisation against violence. Her research is concerned with the concept of autonomy in the meeting of two subjects, and with the feminine and masculine subjectivity and their representations in the social realms, using psychoanalytic approaches and feminist theory.