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Merlino, J.P. Ullrich, H.E. (2002). Why Do Women Love Men and Not Their Mothers? Marie-Christine Hamon, translated by Susan Fairfield, Other Press, New York, 2000, 251 pp. $22.00.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 30(4):739-741.

(2002). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 30(4):739-741

Book Reviews

Why Do Women Love Men and Not Their Mothers? Marie-Christine Hamon, translated by Susan Fairfield, Other Press, New York, 2000, 251 pp. $22.00.

Review by:
Joseph P. Merlino, M.D., M.P.A.

Helen E. Ullrich, M.D., Ph.D.

Marie-Christine Hamon engages the reader with the provocative title of her book, Why do Women Love Men and Not Their Mothers? The implication that a daughter might love her mother rather than men sets the stage for an examination of female sexuality. This study of female sexuality, a study of the female Oedipus, has three foci: the first is on Freud's analysis of female Oedipal development. In the second Marie-Christine Hamon evaluates the contributions of Freud's colleagues to his understanding of female sexuality. In the final section she focuses on Ruth Mack Brunswick's illustrations of lacunae in Freud's theory and her contributions to fill those lacunae. These are the author's stated goals and organization.

A detailed examination of Freud's articles shows the contrast between the female and male Oedipus complex and the evolution in his views on the female Oedipus. Marie-Christine Hamon attributes the evolution in Freud's conceptions of female development to his intellectual exchanges with his pupils and to their case histories. Of course, Freud had his own cases as well. Although the author asserts that Freud failed to acknowledge adequately the contributions from his pupils and colleagues, Freud worked so closely with them that the intermingling of ideas was likely. With regard to Ruth Mack Brunswick's work Lisa Appignanesi and John Forrester assert, It is almost impossible to unearth what belongs to her from beneath the overwhelming mass of material associated with the father (p. 375). This seems applicable to all of Freud's close associates. At times Marie-Christine Hamon reports that Freud has credited a colleague with an idea in an earlier paper but not in a later paper. For those who work together closely the determination of the source of a concept may be an impossible task.

Those with whom Freud had a close collaboration included Helene Deutch, H. W. van Opuijsen, Jeanne Lampl-de Groot, August Stärcke, and Otto Fenichel. In addition, the author shows Melanie Klein's impact on Freud and how the feud between his daughter and Melanie Klein limited his integration of her work.

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