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Gill, M.M. (1964). The Structuring of Drive and Reality—David Rapaport's Contributions to Psycho-Analysis and Psychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:483-498.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:483-498

The Structuring of Drive and Reality—David Rapaport's Contributions to Psycho-Analysis and Psychology

Merton M. Gill

We cannot hope to do justice to David Rapaport's work in a single paper. The intricate skein of his contributions would have to be followed into the work of those who are exploring areas that he boldly, sometimes daringly, charted and with whom he was in many instances an unseen collaborator. This hints at the luxuriant variety of his thought and of his contributions. It hints also at the complexity of the man. He was so many-faceted, so made up of paradoxes, that almost any generalization about him personally is bound to be false in some critical respect. It will require a gifted biographer to do full justice to Rapaport the man.

Our task is more limited. We will sketch the main themes of his formal presentations. The range and complexity of these—the more remarkable for being compressed within a short twenty or twenty-five years—make the task a difficult one. We are aided, however, by the fact that an unusual unity of theme and purpose is perceptible in all that he did. In whatever directions Rapaport carried his efforts—and they are amazingly diverse, extending to many sectors of psychological theory and over a wide variety of psychological phenomena and behaviour—recurrent emphases and themes can be found. Approaching concepts principally by way of their history, he was able to accomplish unique integrative feats within psycho-analytic theory and between it and general psychological theory. In the discussion to follow we shall not restrict ourselves to Rapaport's contributions to theory but rather, as we believe to be appropriate on this occasion, to the science of psychology in general.

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