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Rubins, J.L. (1954). Existential Psychoanalysis. By Jean Paul, Sartre Trans. by Hazel Barnet, Univ. of Colorado. Philosophical Library, New York, 1953 275 pp. $4.75.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 14(1):123-127.
    

(1954). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 14(1):123-127

Book Reviews

Existential Psychoanalysis. By Jean Paul, Sartre Trans. by Hazel Barnet, Univ. of Colorado. Philosophical Library, New York, 1953 275 pp. $4.75.

Review by:
Jack L. Rubins, M.D.

Existential Psychoanalysis is an attempt to apply the concepts of philosophic existentialism to the human being; it does not present a method of clinical analytic therapy. In fact, the book is but two chapters of Sartre's major work, ‘L'Etre et le Neant’ (‘Being and Nothingness’) and must be taken in this context. It will have most meaning, therefore, to the reader who is well grounded in the abstract notions of this thinking. To one who is not the book is likely to prove confusing, or at best difficult to read and understand. But the difficulty stems not only from the complicated existential terminology, but also from the complex style of writing which is more suited to the French than English, and from the loss of exactness in translation from an idiomatic original meaning to an approximately equivalent translation.

The translator attempts to bridge the gap between these essays and the body of the philosophy in her lengthy introduction, wherein she points out that the purpose of the work is to understand the basic nature and meaning of “Being”—whether human or object—and how the individual translates this into his life. She likewise summarizes some of the main postulates of Existentialism, definitions which go far toward clarifying their usage in the subsequent text.

The most important notion she presents, which the author does not take up in this book, is that of “anguish.” This would be a kind of existential anxiety, combining elements of dread, shock and apprehension as well as those we usually include under anxiety.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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