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Hladky, F. (1963). Schizophrenia As A Human Process. By Harry Stack Sullivan M.D. Ed. Helen Swick Perry, W. W. Norton, New York, 1962. 363 pp., $6.50.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 23(1):86-88.

(1963). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 23(1):86-88

Schizophrenia As A Human Process. By Harry Stack Sullivan M.D. Ed. Helen Swick Perry, W. W. Norton, New York, 1962. 363 pp., $6.50.

Review by:
Frank Hladky, M.D.

This book covers all the major articles that Sullivan wrote from 1924 through 1935, either through articles themselves or Commentaries by Helen Swick Perry, who has also written an informative introduction and added editorial comments. It is common knowledge that Sullivan, one of the great American psychiatrists, is difficult to understand though he made every effort to be precise and to communicate his ideas clearly. In the Fifth Annual Karen Horney Lecture (1957), Lewis B. Hill stated: “I need at this point to confess I owe more than I can readily recount to you, to Harry Stack Sullivan for my knowledge of and interest in schizophrenics, but there is one point in which my theory and practice differs from his. If I understand him, he taught that the patient, or for that matter any human being, is not an “individual,” but is rather a remarkably complex nexus of responses to interpersonal experiences …” If Hill had to add the qualifying phrase—“if I understand him”—when discussing Sullivan's work, then indeed the difficulty must be in Sullivan's style of writing and expression. Clarification of his original work is therefore welcome.

Through years of study Helen Perry has “come to feel in large measure devoted to his prose style” and to be at home with his “Joycean” prose; however, by editing “some of the finenesses of Sullivan's style,” she has performed a great service by making his work more readily understandable and readable.

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