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Brierley, M. (1951). Fundamentals of Psychoanalysis: By Franz Alexander. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1949. Pp. 312. Price 16 s. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:248-249.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:248-249

Fundamentals of Psychoanalysis: By Franz Alexander. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1949. Pp. 312. Price 16 s. net.)

Review by:
Marjorie Brierley

'Confronted with the task of revising The Medical Value of Psychoanalysis for a third edition', the author decided instead to write a new book in two volumes, of which Fundamentals in Psycho-analysis is the first: the second will discuss the psychosomatic approach to medicine.

This book is essentially a textbook for students based on courses of Introductory Lectures to Psychoanalysis delivered in the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis during the last fifteen years. It exhibits many of the features desirable in an introductory textbook, e.g. logical sequence, simple, clear and vigorous exposition, illustrations from case-histories, etc. Alexander has abandoned the usual historical approach, still considered by many the most fruitful, but stereotypy in teaching is admittedly no more desirable than stereotypy in practice. It is doubtful, however, whether this book will establish itself as a primer generally recognized by Training Committees. Individual accounts of psycho-analysis must differ since each will reflect its author's preferred approach. In this account, Alexander is often at pains to relate or to distinguish his personal conceptions to or from those of Freud and others. In spite of these mitigating considerations, the verdict of many psycho-analysts may well be that this volume is less a textbook of psycho-analysis as such than 'a concise and up-to-date presentation' of Alexander's own views, some of which can only be described as highly controversial.

The basic trend which concerns the reviewer becomes apparent in the first chapter.

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