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Meyer, M.A. (1928). Folklore of the Teeth: By Leo Kanner, M.D., Yankton State Hospital, Yankton, South Dakota. (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1928. Pp. xiii + 316. Price $4.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:491-492.
(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:491-492
Folklore of the Teeth: By Leo Kanner, M.D., Yankton State Hospital, Yankton, South Dakota. (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1928. Pp. xiii + 316. Price $4.00.)
Review by: M. A. Meyer
This book is essentially a compendium encompassing an extensive store of folkloristic data concerning the teeth. Students of anthropology and psychology—perhaps, also, some dental practitioners—will, we believe, find the facts it contains quite interesting. They are presented, on the whole, in a conveniently orderly and systematic manner. Readers with a technical training, however, will be rather disappointed by the paucity of attempts at interpretation of the material. The author's few efforts in this direction are feeble, inadequate and superficial. He makes no use of any of the anthropological applications of psycho-analysis to demonstrate the fundamental psychological factors underlying the customs, beliefs and rituals he describes. Indeed no direct mention of psycho-analysis is made except in the bibliography, where a few references, such as that to Freud's General Introduction, to Roheim's Spiegelzauber and to the Psycho-Analytic Review may be found.
The omission of any consideration of the material from a psycho-analytical point of view becomes quite surprising when we learn, by referring to Kanner, Leo, 'The Tooth as a Folkloristic Symbol', Psycho-Analytic Review, January 1928 (cited in the bibliography), that the writer of that article, presumably identical with the author of this book, is thoroughly conversant with the underlying, unconscious significance of the material presented in both. A curious contrast is afforded by the treatment of the same folkloristic facts in the article on the one hand and in this book on the other. In the article we read of the views of Freud, Abraham, Roheim, and a considerable number of other analysts.
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