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Hughes, A. (1984). Reminiscences of a Viennese Psychoanalyst: By Richard Sterba. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 1982. Pp. 184.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:247-249.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:247-249

Reminiscences of a Viennese Psychoanalyst: By Richard Sterba. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 1982. Pp. 184.

Review by:
Athol Hughes

In the preface of this book, Sterba asks that we 'not consider it as a historical study, but as the report of an eyewitness with all the subjective color and misapprehensions that are characteristic of eyewitness reports'. In spite of his injunction, I do see his book as adding to our understanding of the development and history of psychoanalysis. Sterba's reminiscing eye roves over three areas of life in Vienna in the 20's and 30's. It covers the interrelationship of the individuals who made up the analytic scene in those decades in Vienna; it looks at shifts in Freud's theories and at the ways that they were received by the analytic circle; and it gives us ideas as to how Freud's later formulations contributed to the ways in which psychoanalysis has developed subsequently.

Richard Sterba was a member of the Viennese Psychoanalytic Society and Institute from the time of its formal inception to the time of its end with the coming of the Nazis. The book is of interest and importance as a report of an eyewitness who could look with clarity and love at Freud and at his ideas and see processes in the development of psychoanalysis to which he himself contributed.

Sterba was among those who had their intellectual horizons broadened by education in the gymnasium, an education in the classics that few obtain now. He was introduced to psychoanalysis when he was a medical student in Vienna through contact with Rank, Sachs and Schilder in the early 20's. His enthusiasm for, and interest in, the new science was such that he started analytic training and became one of the first group of students at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute.

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