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BOOK REVIEWS245 Would that Solovyev were a symbol of the entire Russian people! Would that they could find the truth of the Godmanhood, their salvation, in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Roma» Catholic Church! Rev. Dominic Unger, O.F.M. Cap. Capuchin College, Washington, D.C. The Yearbook of Psychoanalysis. Vol. I, 1945. (New York: International Universities Press, Pp. 370.) This yearbook is a collection of reprints of papers published in various psychoanalytical periodicals or held at symposia between the years 1942 and 1945. Proceeding from the premise that only roses are selected for such anthologies, we may surmise that The Yearbook contains the most representative and most valuable contributions which psychoanalysis has to offer. The collection, according to the Introduction, seems to be born, at least partly, out of competition against those purveyors "who offer the public better, cheaper and quicker psychoanalyses." We must, therefore, conclude that the present contribution intends to advocate a less quick, less cheap, and evidentally a still better psychoanalysis. We for one would recommend also a little less fancy, less subjectivity, and considerably more logic and clarity. Do the editors really believe that they can sell to the American public what the European public has long since refused to swallow? There are more and more people who refuse to fall for every pompous new "ism" and who rightly believe that the dressing of thoughts in phrases which look more like Greek than English is no proof of their validity. We are told usque ad nauseam that there does not exist, neither can there exist, a normal mind, from which assertion it follows that psychoanalysts have no normal mind either. In that case we pity the poor patients. We learn again that symbols are universal and ubiquitous; that to Australian primitive children all toys are sexual symbols; that "the roots of sublimation are always an erotic activity, either pregenital or genital." Some woman author wants us to believe that the well known women's tendency to lie about their age, is rooted in their hope that, as long as they are young, they may somehow develope into manhood. Another author assures us that "the highest achievement of the human mind — its conscience — arises out of the animalistic desire to devour our fellow creatures." Freud's sleep theory, viewing sleep "as a re-enacting of the period in utero" is repeated . And so it goes on and on: many other such passages, the very indelicacy of which prohibits quotation, excellently exploit their own folly. When looking for evidence proving such statements we get little more than interjections like "undoubtedly," "surely," "I suggest," "I feel," "twenty years of clinical observation have taught me," etc. In other words we have to be satisfied with purely subjective interpretations. Robert Waelder frankly states that we cannot expect anything better when he says: "Experimental control in psychoanalysis is very difficult to achieve, 246BOOK REVIEWS and is outright impossible for the interpretation of the individual case." However, the unprejudiced and critical mind, which, in science, prefers proofs to faith, will feel rather reluctant to admit statements which have no other basis but the subjective interpretation of a psychoanalyst. Among the more objective and more interesting contributions we mention the articles on the history of psychoanalysis, as Siegfried Bernfeld's article on Freud's earliest theories and the School of Helmholtz, and the symposium on the present trends in psychoanalytical theory and practice, particularly that of Gregory Zilboorg. Zilboorg laments the confusion, dissensions, and schisms in the psychoanalytical world, even on fundamental issues. And indeed the present Yearbook itself gives abundant evidence of the chaotic condition of this little world. Zilboorg's remedy is a plea to go back to Freud. But we are not so sure about the efficiency of the medicine. For the "master" is notoriously obscure, and who is there to give the real interpretation? As long as psychoanalysis fails to recognize an infallible teaching authority — and there is no reason why it should — the same chaotic state of affairs will continue and increase. Another set of contributions with a somewhat more objective character are those on the war neuroses. But altogether out of place in a supposedly scientific...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 245-246
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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