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Glover, J. (1924). Psycho-Analysis and Everyman: By D. N. Barbour. (George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London, 1923. Pp. 191. Price 6 s.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:386-386.
(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:386-386
Psycho-Analysis and Everyman: By D. N. Barbour. (George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London, 1923. Pp. 191. Price 6 s.
Review by: James Glover
This small volume by an unknown writer is announced by its publisher as an account of psycho-analysis 'in simple and accurate language', and its perusal inclines one to wonder what would happen if someone of no scientific standing approached a publisher with a misleading and inaccurate exposition of Einstein's theory, interspersed with the author's private views on current politics.
Mr. Barbour finds in psycho-analytical theory support for his private opinions on a variety of complex topics, and considering that it stands in dire need of his championing has entered the lists against its calumniators with apparently no realization of his own lack of equipment.
The result has been exactly what he himself might have foreseen. His book has been reviewed in the public Press as a reliable presentation o psycho-analytical theory; its numerous defects have in consequence been criticized as defects of that theory, and his private views have been treated as integral parts of it.
Mr. Barbour states a case for a more enlightened attitude on the part of schoolmasters and others towards sex in general and homosexuality in particular, and no one could possibly object to any one who feels strongly on such matters ventilating his views in book form; but surely this object might have been attained by a less circuitous route and without undertaking incidentally, as it were, the exposition of a complicated subject which he has himself only superficially and imperfectly grasped.
Our criticism does not end here. Mr. Barbour is not merely guilty of inaccuracies; he must needs improve on Freud's views quite airily without having troubled to ascertain exactly what these views are. For instance, it occurs to him that it would be a good idea to differentiate a 'sex-libido' from a 'libido' derived from the totality of the instincts, and he at once puts Freud right on this point, saying nothing either of Freud's differentiation of ego-libido and objectlibido, or of Jung's usage of the term 'libido'.
Mr. Barbour therefore cannot be surprised if serious students of psycho-analysis wish that his indebtedness to the science had taken the more acceptable form of denying himself a rôle which more mature reflection or counsel with any authority on the subject would have shown to be beyond his powers, and likely to do more harm than good.
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