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Lomas, P. (1965). Passivity: A Study of its Development and Expression in Boys: By Sylvia Brody. (New York: Int. Univ. Press; London: Bailey Bros., 1964. Pp. 184. $4.00. 36s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:394.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:394

Passivity: A Study of its Development and Expression in Boys: By Sylvia Brody. (New York: Int. Univ. Press; London: Bailey Bros., 1964. Pp. 184. $4.00. 36s.)

Review by:
Peter Lomas

The subject matter of this book is a little more specialized than the title suggests, for it is centred on the relationship between passivity and hypnagogic phenomena. The clinical basis for this study is the psycho-analysis of two boys both of whom had hypnagogic dreams during the course of their analyses at the age of 12 years. There were other similarities between the boys, particularly in the nature of the relationship they had with their mothers.

The mothers of both boys were professional painters who were much discomforted by having had to suspend creative work in their respective fields during the infancy of their children. Both were animated, attractive, efficient, independent women, strongly urged to express themselves as individuals. In order to do so, they had made use of household help with their children much earlier than their husbands had wished it. Each of the boys had a younger sibling to whom the mother related more easily than she did to the patient. Each loudly resented the mother's favouritism toward that sibling as well as her hardness toward the father, and each mother admitted that there was much realistic basis for these complaints.

Dr Brody reconstructs the development of abnormal passivity in these boys—richly illustrated by descriptive detail—and relates this passivity to the hypnagogic dreams. She emphasizes the importance of early physical deprivation, both in the form of contact with the mother and bodily movement, suggesting that the consequent failure to develop a sound body-image leads to a passive overdependence on others.

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