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Kächele, H. (2014). From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: A Critique and Integration, by Morris N. Eagle, Routledge, New York, 2011, 345pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 74(1):106-108.

(2014). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 74(1):106-108

From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: A Critique and Integration, by Morris N. Eagle, Routledge, New York, 2011, 345pp.

Review by:
Horst Kächele, M.D., Ph.D.

For an eager reader of many papers and books that promise to present a new view on old issues, this text by Morris Eagle stands out for many good reasons. Just by taking a look at the back cover, one finds impressive statements: In Joseph Schachter's words the book “demonstrates a unique talent for presenting a remarkably lucid, largely jargon free, comprehensive, sympathetic delineation of Freud's oeuvre in approximately 100 pages—a stunning tour-de-force!”; Peter Fonagy calls it “a masterpiece of conceptual integration, … the best guide to the development of modern psychoanalytic thinking” and Paul Wachtel writes that the “book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand deeply the ferment within psychoanalysis and the theoretical options that reside within its borders”.

The first two parts of the book are organized around fundamental topics of Freudian classical theory and contemporary psychoanalytic theories: (1) Conceptions of mind, (2) Conceptions of object relations, (3) Conception of psychopathology and (4) Conceptions of treatment. The first part of the book spells out how Freudian theory addresses these topics; the second part then critically examines how contemporary psychoanalytic theories address them.

I have to admit that studying the third part on “Divergences and Convergences” allowed me to fully appreciate the richness of the exposition of the Freudian work in Part I and its further development in the various schools of thought in Part II.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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