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Muir, B. (1982). Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought: By Erich Fromm. London: Jonathan Cape. 1980. Pp. 160.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 63:500-502.
(1982). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 63:500-502
Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought: By Erich Fromm. London: Jonathan Cape. 1980. Pp. 160.
Review by: Brian Muir
Erich Fromm, who died in March 1980, is well known to a wide public, reaching far beyond the boundaries of professional psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. His work has deservedly attracted the attention of sociologists, educationalists, anthropologists, churchmen and others, and has done much to humanize and demystify psychoanalytical concepts and metapsychology.
As a member of the 'Neo-Freudian' school, originating in the United States about 40 years ago, he was concerned to incorporate sociocultural, familial and, later in his life, political factors into the psychoanalytic view of human psychology and these preoccupations have, no doubt, been in large measure decisive in making him such a popular figure. But, whatever the more rigorous theoretical and philosophical views of the psychoanalytically-informed reader of Fromm, I think most would agree that his efforts to popularize Freud's thought and bring it to a wider public audience have had considerable effect and largely, in my view, for the good of psychoanalysis.
Fromm has, for me, always come over as a very human man, passionately concerned about justice and the value of human life and creativity, religious in the widest and best sense, and a keen critic, commentator and analyst of the destructive capacities potentially inherent in human beings, as well as of the forces to be harnessed in the service of living, and for the general good.
This book is the last he wrote and is firmly in the tradition of all his earlier writings.
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