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PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Coltart, N. (1993). Ignatius of Loyola. The Psychology of a Saint: By W. W. Meissner. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. 1992. Pp. 480.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:1281-1283.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:1281-1283

Ignatius of Loyola. The Psychology of a Saint: By W. W. Meissner. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. 1992. Pp. 480.

Review by:
Nina Coltart

Here is a book of paradox, and to many readers the author himself represents a paradox. Dr Meissner serves two professional masters, two of the most powerful cultural figures of the last 400 years, St Ignatius and Sigmund Freud; he is a Jesuit priest and a Professor of Psychoanalysis at Boston College. I imagine he is unique in this respect. Without his profound immersion in both his disciplines, Meissner would never have brought off the achievement that this book is; with it, he has produced a vivid, detailed and scholarly study of an extraordinary character, Ignatius of Loyola, who in his own life and character manifested many paradoxes.

As I got deeper into the book, I was increasingly gripped by it, so alive is the portrait of a remarkable and charismatic man. By the end, I even felt that he was, after all, rather lovable; throughout most of the book I had felt impatient, amazed, admiring, aggravated, and moved by turns, but rarely stirred to affection. I cannot help wondering whether Meissner didn't heave a sigh of relief as he laid down his pen. He had set himself a formidable task: there are massive sources for the 'Life', and because of the intellectual and emotional requirements of both his professions, he must have been conscious of balancing on a tight-rope throughout most of his journey.

I find I still cannot be sure where the author's primary audience was felt to be; I imagine a number of workers in our own field will read it partly on the basis of respect

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