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Kyrle, R.M. (1947). Sigmund Freud: An Introduction: By Walter Hollitscher, D.Ph. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1947. Pp. viii + 119. Price 8 s. 6d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:201.

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:201

Sigmund Freud: An Introduction: By Walter Hollitscher, D.Ph. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1947. Pp. viii + 119. Price 8 s. 6d.)

Review by:
R. Money Kyrle

The aim of this book is to introduce Freud to sociologists. It consists, in the main, of a summary of his work which is systematic rather than historical in form. Thus Dr. Hollitscher begins with defence of the concept of the unconscious, then outlines the Freudian theory of instincts in general and of the sexual instinct in particular which brings him to a discussion of the conflict between it and the demands of society. From there he turns back once more to first principles and devotes a chapter each to the concept of anxiety and the mechanism of identification before outlining the classical theory of the development of the super-ego and of super-ego morality.

This form of presentation makes Dr. Hollitscher's book easy for the layman to follow, and it is, in fact, unusually lucid and precise. But as it inevitably stresses some parts of Freud's theory more than others, its value will be differently assessed by different analysts. The present reviewer can only assess it from the point of view which he believes to be the most important.

To summarize Freud is, of course, a Herculean task. Not only was his scientific output prodigious, but it extended over a period of more than half a century during which his thought was continually progressing towards an ever deeper understanding of the human mind. Now one of the biggest steps in this progress occurred with the introduction of the concept of the Death Instinct. But Dr. Hollitscher, in stressing the conflict between the sexual impulse and the demands of society and the super-ego, seems to have allowed himself too little space to deal with the perhaps more fundamental conflicts between love and hate to which Freud attached so much importance in his later work.

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