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Pulver, S.E. (2002). Changing Conceptions of Psychoanalysis: The Legacy of Merton M. Gill: Edited by Doris K. Silverman and David L. Wolitzky. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2000, 328 pp., $36.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 50(2):715-716.

(2002). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 50(2):715-716

Changing Conceptions of Psychoanalysis: The Legacy of Merton M. Gill: Edited by Doris K. Silverman and David L. Wolitzky. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2000, 328 pp., $36.00.

Review by:
Sydney E. Pulver

If anyone deserves a festschrift, it is Merton M. Gill. Gill blazed his irascible way through the jungles of ego psychology, leading the march into intersubjectivity and during the journey making outstanding contributions to our conceptions of transference, countertransference, one- versus two-person psychology, and the difference between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. This book is unusual. True to its title, it talks about Gill personally and, in the course of doing so, discusses in fascinating detail the many controversies in which he was involved.

The book begins with five personal reminiscences, each of which has its own distinct flavor, some recounting professional contacts, others recalling personal encounters, and each conveying another aspect of Gill's personality. Within these reminiscences, Gill's participation in the rise and fall of ego psychology and the career of David Rapaport (his espousal and systemization of ego psychology, his acolytes-turned-apostates, and the heroic attempts to make ego psychology work and the disillusionment that ultimately led Gill to object relations and intersubjectivity) are all frankly and engagingly discussed. Irwin Hoffman, who knew him intimately and worked with him most extensively, contributes a beautiful survey of Gill's development and peregrinations through the land of psychoanalytic theory. And then the book moves to the controversies that Gill delighted in. Robert Holt blasts him for his hermeneutic leanings, Morris Eagle takes issue with some of his views on transference and countertransference, and Lawrence Friedman objects to his ultimate abandonment of objectivity.

Two

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