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Kohut, H. (1960). Beyond the Bounds of the Basic Rule—Some Recent Contributions to Applied Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 8:567-586.

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 8:567-586

Beyond the Bounds of the Basic Rule—Some Recent Contributions to Applied Psychoanalysis

Heinz Kohut, M.D.


In an essay written in 1930, the great German writer Hermann Hesse spoke strongly against the abuse of psychoanalytic insights by literary critics, and protested, with trenchant irony, against the attempt to explain the personality of an author by the psychoanalytic investigation of his works: "If a patient should say to his analyst, 'My dear sir, I don't have either the time or the inclination for all these sessions, but I will give you here a package containing my dreams, wishes and fantasies in so far as I have written them down, partly in verse; please take this material and decipher from it, if you please, whatever you need to know'—what a scornful response would such a naïve patient receive from the doctor!" (7).

The problem which Hesse points up so sharply has remained an important one from the early days of psychoanalysis to the present.

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