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Anthony, J. (1951). Modern Abnormal Psychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:137.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:137

Modern Abnormal Psychology

Review by:
James Anthony

A Symposium edited by William H. Miskell. (Philosophical Library, New York, 1950. Pp. 880.)

Textbook of Abnormal Psychology. By C. Landis and M. Bolles. (Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1950. Pp. 634. 37s. 6d.)

The first of these two textbooks aims at reaching a general public interested in abnormal psychology and serving students as a reference and source book. It sets out to deal with 'definitive and dynamic aspects' of its subject with some emphasis on the historical evolution of contemporary concepts. Although claiming an impartial and eclectic presentation there is a clear bias toward Freudian psycho-analysis (or perhaps one should say near-Freudian. A Freudian analyst might well be surprised at the rôles he is expected to play in treatment. He is regarded among other things as 'an efficiency expert' (sic), social worker and educator). The various contributions are somewhat uneven. For the most part the writing is diffuse and racy; at its worst scarcely rising in style above the level of a popular Digest. The treatment accorded to such topics as the relation of genius to insanity is embarrassingly unscholarly. Through poor organization of its material it cannot be regarded as adequately fulfilling its purpose as a book of reference. On the virtuous side it can, however, be said to be up-to-the-minute, but so much so that one cannot escape the conclusion that there is an element of pot-boiling in its production.

Dr. Landis' textbook is too well known to require much critical discussion. It is serious, comprehensive and balanced. The arrangement is along traditional lines and the viewpoint is again broadly eclectic (although here the bias is towards the Meyerian). Psycho-analysis obtains a more accurate condensation than is customary in a book of this nature. It is highly recommended both to psychiatrists and to clinical psychologists.

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