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Pulver, S.E. (1995). Psychoanalysis in Transition: A Personal View. : By Merton M. Gill. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 1994. Pp. 179 + xvii.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:644-646.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:644-646

Psychoanalysis in Transition: A Personal View. : By Merton M. Gill. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 1994. Pp. 179 + xvii.

Review by:
Sydney E. Pulver

I read this book in just a few sittings and could not refrain from writing an enthusiastic letter to Merton Gill. I had known him professionally for many years, and had always admired the clarity of his thought, his delight in intellectual debate and his genius in getting to the heart of the matter. I had been particularly impressed by his openness to new ideas and his ability to shift to new viewpoints when the evidence warranted it. This book, I felt, was his magnum opus, even more important than his work on transference. I could not wait for the review to come out to convey that to him. It was with shock and dismay that I received a note from Merton's wife thanking me for the letter and informing me that unfortunately he had died shortly before it arrived. This review, then, is written with a heavy heart. We have lost a brilliant psychoanalyst, a man whose writings helped shaped the thinking of a generation of psychoanalysts. Gill was always at the forefront of our thinking. He was eloquent, eminently clear, flexible, delightfully contentious, and always stimulating, even in his earlier expositions of some of the drier sides of ego psychology.

The volume is a fitting apogee to an illustrious career. Its style is unlike most of his other major works. Subtitled A Personal View, in style and content it is just that. Gill deals with those controversies in current psychoanalysis that he has taken an interest in, and this includes most that have had any real importance. The chapter headings illustrate this: ‘Constructivism and hermeneutics’; ‘The internal and the external’; ‘One-person and two-person psychology’; ‘Neutrality’; ‘Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy’; ‘Free association and the analytic process’; ‘What analysts say and do’; ‘Theory and technique’; and ‘The body in psychoanalysis’.

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