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Couch, A.S. (1999). Selected Writings by Anna Freud: Richard Ekins and Ruth Freeman. London and New York: Penguin Books. 1998. Pp. 304. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(5):1044-1047.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(5):1044-1047

Selected Writings by Anna Freud: Richard Ekins and Ruth Freeman. London and New York: Penguin Books. 1998. Pp. 304

Review by:
Arthur S. Couch

The editors' deep knowledge of Anna Freud's thinking has resulted in an astute selection of papers from 1936 to 1981 that covers the full range of her seminal contributions to psychoanalysis. It brings together in one book a collection of key papers that originally appeared in her first book and in many journals over the years, which makes it extremely convenient to the interested analyst, reader, teacher or student who wants a condensed but highly representative review of Anna Freud's works. A careful reading of these papers should reconfirm Anna Freud's position as one of the most brilliant minds in psychoanalysis this century and as a diamondclear writer who can make the most complex topics seem simple and straightforward.

Although perhaps not intended as such, these selected writings, if read in temporal sequence, give a most incisive summary of the rise and fall of classical Freudian psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud's time to the period of decline in the mid-1970s when the pluralistic trends increasingly decentred psychoanalysis. Anna Freud's major writings from the time of her book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence (1936) through the 1960s were her original contributions to the growing mainstream of Freudian adult and child psychoanalysis. It is interesting to re-enter in her writings this period of the high tide of Freudian psychoanalysis in which there was such confidence and enthusiasm. Then from the 1970s Anna Freud tried to contest the validity of the alternative theories and techniques of the expanding English Schools of analysis that had earlier been quite minor influences on the international scene.

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