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Mittelmann, B. (1938). The Spectacle of a Man: By John Coignard. New York: Jefferson House, Inc., 1937. 252 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 7:283-286.

(1938). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 7:283-286

The Spectacle of a Man: By John Coignard. New York: Jefferson House, Inc., 1937. 252 pp.

Review by:
Bela Mittelmann

'This book', the author states in the introduction, 'is the story of a year in a man's life during which he was being treated by analytical psychotherapy. Through the use of an actual case, it has been possible to illustrate the method of analytical treatment during the hours in the consulting room, the modifications it effected in his character, and finally the new ways of living it precipitated.' The author carries out these aims with notable success.

The story begins with a letter, which the patient, Arnold Harvesting, writes to a psychoanalyst. In the letter he describes his symptoms and relates his history, including the incident which moved him to seek help. He is thirty-two years of age, and has suffered from extreme shyness and stammering from the age of eight. His father, an attorney, at first wished him to be a lawyer and taunted him with the speech defect which made this career impossible. His final choice of the engineering profession was determined by his desire to avoid contact with people. He had never been physically intimate with a woman and for ten years before the beginning of the story had not even kissed one. Shortly before applying for treatment he had made the acquaintance of Mary, a lively, attractive, and sympathetic woman. She makes advances to him and he falls in love with her. Without sending word to her, he leaves town unexpectedly to attend his father's funeral. When he sees her again after a two weeks' absence, she feels hurt, but he can not even realize that he has been inattentive.

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