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Mann, D. (1995). On Freud's “Observations on Transference Love” Edited by Ethel Spector Person, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993, 194 pages. £17.50. Free Associations, 5(4):571-574.

(1995). Free Associations, 5(4):571-574

On Freud's “Observations on Transference Love” Edited by Ethel Spector Person, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993, 194 pages. £17.50

Review by:
David Mann

This book is the third in the series “Contemporary Freud: Turning Points and Critical Issues.” Its publication is timely given current public and professional debate about sexual relationships between analysts and their clients.

The volume contains a reprint of Freud's paper on transference love. Ten eminent analysts from around the world have contributed articles taking Freud's paper as the focus of their discussion. As one would expect in a book of this nature, the articles are not all equal in their interest.

The background to Freud's original paper, published in 1915, was the mounting professional and public concern about sexual ethics in psychoanalysis. Freud was propelled into writing this paper partly in response to Jung's affair with his client, Sabrina Spielrein, and partly as a result of even greater concern about Ferenczi's “experiments” with psychoanalytic techniques. A number of contributions draw attention to Freud's motivation in this respect.

In her introduction, the editor highlights the widespread power and threat which has always existed in psychoanalysis concerning transference love. I think it is safe to say that this power and threat is apparent in all the articles in this book in varying degrees of intensity. This is clear in how some of the authors write about the subject: transference love is a hot and passionate phenomenon and by definition is an interesting subject.

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