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Kaplan, A.H. (1992). Halo in the Sky: Observations on Anality and Defense: By Leonard Shengold. New York: Guilford Press, 1988, XVII + 184 pp., $25.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:295-300.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:295-300

Halo in the Sky: Observations on Anality and Defense: By Leonard Shengold. New York: Guilford Press, 1988, XVII + 184 pp., $25.00.

Review by:
Alex H. Kaplan, M.D.

In the very first sentence, Shengold sets the tone for his entire book by making it clear that his "book is devoted to the clinical viability of Freud's drive (Triebe) theory, part of which is Freud's concept of the body ego." Accepting Freud's statement that the "theory of instincts is so to say our mythology," Shengold states, "I believe we need our magnificent indefinite mythology which often contains more wisdom than do naively aspiring efforts toward pure quantifiable science" (p. 2). However, even the soft sciences like psychoanalysis and the social sciences, which use less quantifiable techniques of investigation for their generalizations and theories, must have a logic for the acceptance and rejection of their theories. The methodology is not a matter of its transient techniques, but of the logic of its justification (Kaplan 1981pp. 1–2).

The dedicated defense of Freud's so-called "mythical" instinctual drive theories has parallels to an earlier article Shengold wrote describing the metaphor of the journey in Freud's discoveries on the royal road of the dream to the unconscious activities of the mind. Shengold compared Freud's heroic and unequaled journey to "the road of conquistadors." Considering the glorious outcome of Freud's efforts, he is described as one of the greatest of conquistadors (Shengold, 1966pp. 330–331). Shengold's support for Freud's instinctual drive theory has encouraged a reappraisal of a long-neglected area of psychoanalytic study, the anal phase of development. In his own dedicated journey, Shengold has reintroduced the relevance of the earlier discoveries of Freud, Abraham, R. Fliess, and others, not only to the significance of the anal phase of development, but to the instinctual drive theory as well. In a creative and scholarly fashion, he has given added emphasis to the concepts of the body ego and the anal-narcissistic defenses for a better understanding of the development of the sense of self or "I-ness."

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