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Rycroft, C. (1960). The Quest for Identity: By Allen Wheelis. (London: Gollancz, 1959. Pp. 250. 21 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:86-87.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:86-87

The Quest for Identity: By Allen Wheelis. (London: Gollancz, 1959. Pp. 250. 21 s.)

Review by:
Charles Rycroft

Dr. Wheelis has written an interesting and unusual book. Its interest derives not so much from its subject matter, which is the not unfamiliar one of the predicament of twentieth-century American man in

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a world from which the father figures have departed, as from the author's highly individual presentation of his theme. Dr. Wheelis is a psycho-analyst, but his book, so far from being a theoretical or academic interpretation of the lost American's quest for an identity, is an admittedly personal document, his culturally orientated interpretation, being illustrated by a thread of personal and revealing narrative. Dr. Wheelis deliberately eschews the convention by which a writer conceals his own subjective motives for becoming concerned with his chosen topic and allows the reader to see clearly the personal history and conflict that lies behind his choice of theme. Dr. Wheelis is, it must be added, an American with his roots in an American past which is rapidly becoming incomprehensible to those lacking an historical imagination. As he himself says, 'The figure which emerges is more characteristic of the nineteenth century than of the twentieth, and so, while native to this place, is a stranger to this time.' The result of this admixture of the objective and subjective is a work of art which will be remembered after more learned and sounder treatments of the same theme have been forgotten.

However, despite the reviewer's enjoyment and admiration of the personal quality

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