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Khan, M.R. (1982). The Existentialist Critique of Freud the Crisis of Autonomy: By Gerald N. Izenberg. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1976. Pp. 354.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:245-246.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:245-246

The Existentialist Critique of Freud the Crisis of Autonomy: By Gerald N. Izenberg. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1976. Pp. 354.

Review by:
M. Masud R. Khan

Some five years after its publication, Professor Gerald Izenberg's lucid and comprehensive survey of Existentialist writers and their critique, as well as impact, on psychoanalysis, is even more worthy of our attention than when it originally appeared. That a Professor of History, and not a psychoanalyst, should write such a book bears witness both to the malaise in psychoanalytic thinkers, regarding the researches in the neighbouring fields of humanistic research, and to their phobic entanglement with their own expertise of metapsychologies. In the past six years, the concept of Self has usurped unto itself all previous approaches in psychoanalysis to an understanding of the human individual: as mind, with inner psychic reality, and a relating person, both subject and object. The concept of Self is not to be found in Freud's texts. Hartmann's creative researches into non-conflictual character of ego-apparatuses and ego-autonomies, after a brief period (lasting not more than a decade and a half) have been discreetly put aside by the American analysts. They had never made much impact on European analytic thinkers. Erikson's novel and 'expansionist' concepts of identity-crises and epigenetic approach have met with the same fate in America and abroad. The American Psychoanalytic Association militantly barricaded itself against any intrusive influence from European thinkers, such as Melanie Klein, Fairbairn, Winnicott and Lacan. When their home-made metapsychologies failed to thrive, especially abroad, they had to refurbish their thinking with some novelty of nomenclature, if not new thinking and clinical practice.

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