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Campbell, D. (1987). The Essentials of Psycho-Analysis: By Sigmund Freud. Selected and introduced by Anna Freud. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1986. Pp. 598.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:425-430.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:425-430

The Essentials of Psycho-Analysis: By Sigmund Freud. Selected and introduced by Anna Freud. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1986. Pp. 598.

Review by:
Donald Campbell

Four years before her death, Anna Freud selected 21 of her father's papers and organized them into what she calls 'an introductory course of study' entitled The Essentials of Psychoanalysis. She has also written perceptive introductions to each of the ten chapter headings. Her aim is to present the essentials of Freud's metapsychology and for this reason his case studies and papers on technique and training are not included in this collection. It is a work befitting an Antigone who continues to speak for her father.

As Clifford Yorke states in his illuminating foreword, Anna Freud remained aware throughout her life that there were 'certain irreducible concepts, the abnegation of which impoverished the entire discipline and rendered its arguments ineffective. It is those basic principles which are to be found in the present volume' (p. ix).

Anna Freud begins this collection by acknowledging the difficulty in, 'Introducing lay persons—whether students or readers with no prior knowledge—to the world of psycho-analytic thought'. She is aided in overcoming this difficulty by her father's proclivity for writing with the student in mind. Strachey (1963) remarked that 'lectures as a method of putting forward his opinions evidently appealed to Freud, but only subject to a particular condition: he must be in a lively contact with his real or supposed audience' (p. 6). Nowhere in Freud's writing is there a more lively contact with his audience than in the paper Anna Freud chose to begin this collection: 'The question of lay analysis' (1926) which is written as a dialogue between Freud and an imaginary Impartial Person.

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