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Brierley, M. (1961). The Divided Self. A Study of Sanity and Madness: By R. D. Laing. (Studies in Existential Analysis and Phenomenology). (London: Tavistock Publications, 1960. Pp. 240. 25s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 42:288-291.

(1961). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 42:288-291

The Divided Self. A Study of Sanity and Madness: By R. D. Laing. (Studies in Existential Analysis and Phenomenology). (London: Tavistock Publications, 1960. Pp. 240. 25s.)

Review by:
Marjorie Brierley

This is a most interesting book that should do much to further sympathetic understanding of the subjective experience of border-line and fully developed psychotic persons. It is not a textbook of either method or theory, although, naturally, theoretical formulations and considerations of practical necessities appear in it. It is essentially an attempt to convey to readers, with the aid of relevant quotations from patients, what it feels like to be verging on insanity or to be completely mad. Probably most readers will agree that this aim is successfully achieved, though there will be much less unanimity about Laing's preference for existential terminology and the desirability of a purely existential psychology. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this particular book is not, and is not intended to be, 'a comprehensive theory of schizophrenia'. According to the author's Preface: 'This is the first of a series of studies in existential psychology and psychiatry, in which it is proposed to present original contributions to this field by a number of authors.' Further, '… this study is not a direct application of any established existential philosophy. … It is to the existential tradition, however, that I acknowledge my main intellectual indebtedness.'

The book is divided into three parts. Part I describes the existential-phenomenological foundations

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