The Culture of Narcissism
In this classic and visionary analysis, originally published in 1979, historian Christopher Lasch builds upon the psychoanalytic concept of narcissism to dissect the relationship between the individual and society. His diagnosis is that individuals have forsaken social and emotional ties in favor of increasingly focusing on their own well-being. Lasch demonstrates how the notion that the world should mirror the desires of the self for personal contentment is disastrous, leading to what he terms the “age of diminishing expectations”.
The typographic cover effectively conveys the book’s pessimistic tone. The letters that appear to expand or contract lead the reader to perceive a sinking sensation while the cover seemingly jumps out at them. The typographic repetition simulates the image of an object placed between two mirrors, causing its image to be infinitely reflected and reduced. The symbolism of the mirror and submersion recalls the Narcissus myth present in the book.
13.5 × 20 cm