The Case of Rashid
Purloined Letters—The Psychoanalysis of a Man Who Stole Books
This is a case in which a behavior disorder, kleptomania—(specifically the stealing of books), had a structure similar to that of a perversion: it was erotized and split off from the patient’s reality ego and defended him from unbearable affects. But whereas this symptom was the patient’s secret, he also had a very public neurotic symptom that lay at the heart of his social identity and that he bore like a cross: this was an inhibition against writing which threatened to destroy his academic career. Over the course of his analysis, both symptoms changed. As his personality became increasingly structuralized, he stopped stealing books and became addicted ...