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Martin, J. (2006). The Quiet Revolution in American Psychoanalysis: Selected Papers of Arnold M. Cooper. Arnold M. Cooper. Ed. Elizabeth L. Auchincloss. The New Library of Psychoanalysis. New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2005. x + 277 pp. $87.50. ($33.95 pb). Am. Imago, 63(1):123-135.
(2006). American Imago, 63(1):123-135
The Quiet Revolution in American Psychoanalysis: Selected Papers of Arnold M. Cooper. Arnold M. Cooper. Ed. Elizabeth L. Auchincloss. The New Library of Psychoanalysis. New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2005. x + 277 pp. $87.50. ($33.95 pb)
Review by: Jay Martin
In a witty poem titled “Law Like Love” (1945), W. H. Auden satirizes the ubiquitous human tendency to universalize personal experiences into inflexible dogmas. What, Auden asks, is the law? What is its source? He replies: “Law, say the gardeners, is the sun” (1. 1), while for the priest, “Law is the words in my priestly book” (1. 10), and so forth. Even for the speaker and his lover it is impossible to “slip out of our own position/Into an unconcerned condition” (11. 49-50). Only a few thinkers, the poem implies, arrive at the understanding that “law” is an “as if” recommendation, subject to manifold meanings depending on context and purpose, but necessarily uncertain, pluralistic, and functionally creative.
The earliest phase of psychoanalysis was experimental. As coworkers, Freud, Abraham, Ferenczi, and many others plunged excitedly into the complex uncertainties of the psyche and its treatment, engaging in lively exchanges of ideas and exhibiting changing minds. Freud was a healthy exemplar in this creative enterprise. Having once proposed a model of the mind, or sexuality, or anything else, Freud felt no compulsion to mold these into everlasting doctrines, but was more likely to reflect further and then arrive at new hypotheses. This was equally true of the best of the other earlier analysts. But Freud could also be a source of inhibition, for parallel to his love of inquiry ran a wish to expand the psychoanalytic movement, and this meant that some experimenters—Adler, Jung, Rank, and eventually Horney and Sullivan—were excluded for fear that existing institutions would be fragmented by their speculations. Organizational politics and sometimes personal intransigence led to the departures. Still, overwhelmingly, the earliest analysts continued their experiments even as they held together as a cohesive force all through the 1920s and early 1930s.
Then Freud died. With that, the experimental phase of psychoanalysis came to an end.
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