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Radical Revenge

Shame, Blame and the Urge for Retaliation

By Renée Danziger

Radical Revenge

Renee Danziger is a psychoanalyst in private practice. She is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at UCL. Born in the U.S., she has lived in the U.K. most of her life. She was educated at Manchester University, London School of Economics, and Oxford University where she earned a doctorate in political science.

Despite its ubiquity, revenge is a surprisingly understudied subject. We’re all familiar with the urge for payback, but where does that urge come from? Why is it so hard to give up? And why can some people only satisfy it through extreme and brutal acts? This book addresses these questions, and by developing the concept of radical revenge it gives some meaning to what might otherwise appear to be senseless acts of violence. 


The author explores some of the most egregious examples of radical revenge in contemporary society, including mass shootings, internet trolling, revenge porn, and contemporary populist politics. Drawing on psychoanalytic ideas about shame, envy and thin-skinned narcissism, she discusses why some people feel compelled to engage in these sorts of destructive acts of radical revenge. She looks too at examples such as the work of Artemisia Gentileschi and David Holthouse, to show that in exceptional cases, revenge can be an act of creativity rather than destruction.

'...a balanced, accessible, inquiring and instructive text... Danziger’s book examines radical revenge in three main areas, each given a clear and lively treatment that shows a psychoanalytic sensitivity without getting overly technical.' - Stephen Frosh, The Jewish Chronicle

'It is an immensely readable and illuminating work that I can heartily recommend. It really does reach into those parts of us that we need to reach if future tragedy and enactment are to be averted.' - David Morgan, Psychoanalyst and Consultant Psychotherapist

'This book brilliantly illuminates the psychological processes underlying the all-too-human desire to take revenge.' Mary Fulbrook, FBA, Professor of German History at UCL

'A masterful, richly illustrated analysis of every shade of revenge.' - Owen Bennett-Jones, Former BBC Correspondent

Additional Information :

Published 2021 (Free Ass. Books) - ISBN: 9781911383475

176 Pages - Paperback

Rights: World

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