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Bromley, A. (1951). The Book of the it: By Georg Groddeck. Translated by V. M. E. Collins, M.A. (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:250.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:250

The Book of the it: By Georg Groddeck. Translated by V. M. E. Collins, M.A. (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company.)

Review by:
Alexander Bromley

Das Buch vom Es was first published by the Psychoanalytischer Verlag in Vienna in 1923. It is a collection of thirty-three letters, all variations on one central theme—Groddeck's concept of the 'wondrous force' which directs man, 'both what he himself does, and what happens to him'. To this force Groddeck, probably adapting Nietzsche's terminology, gave the name 'Es'.

When The Ego and the Id appeared—also in 1923—Freud took over the term 'Es', and at the same time paid a generous tribute to Groddeck. Freud wrote as follows: 'Now I think we shall gain a great deal by following the suggestion of a writer who, from personal motives, vainly insists that he has nothing to do with the rigours of pure science. I am speaking of Georg Groddeck, who is never tired of pointing out that the conduct through life of what we call out ego is essentially passive, and that, as he expresses it, we are "lived" by unknown and uncontrollable forces. We have all had impressions of the same kind, even though they may not have overwhelmed us to the exclusion of all others, and we need feel no hesitation in finding a place for Groddeck's discovery in the fabric of science.'

Without depreciating this tribute, it is however difficult, in the perspective of almost thirty years from its publication, to review The Book of the It as a contribution to science. At first glance it appears to deal with familiar psycho-analytic concepts; but very soon one realizes that Groddeck's It is something very different from the Id of accepted psycho-analytical terminology.

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