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Harris, H.I. (1955). Existential Psychoanalysis: By Jean-Paul Sartre. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1953. 275 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 24:137.

(1955). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 24:137

Existential Psychoanalysis: By Jean-Paul Sartre. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1953. 275 pp.

Review by:
Herbert I. Harris

'We have seen that human reality, far from being capable of being described as being libido or will to power, is a choice of being either directly or through appropriation of the world' (p. 164). 'When he puts his fingers in his mouth, he tries to wall up the hole in his face; he expects that his finger will merge with his lips and the roof of his mouth and block up the buccal orifice as one fills a crack in a wall with cement; he seeks again the density, the uniform and spherical plenitude of Parmenidean being; if he sucks his thumb it is precisely in order to dissolve it, to transform it into a sticky paste which will seal the hole of his mouth' (p. 193). 'The obscenity of the feminine sex is that of everything which "gapes open"' (p. 193). Such statements taken out of context but with no violence to it are fairly typical of the translation called Existential Psychoanalysis which is a fragment of Sartre's book, L'Être et le Néant.

The third chapter, entitled Quality As a Revelation of Being, is one of the most remarkable examples of literary orgasm the reviewer has encountered. The various sensual qualities which author and translator set down reveal such a crescendo of intensity that one realizes more clearly than ever that Sartre's true medium is to be found in his plays and poetry.

A study of existentialism from Kierkegaard, through Heidigger, Jaspers, and Marcel, to Camus reveals that Sartre is a very small pebble on this extensive beach and it is largely because of the unusual publicity he received through his plays and poetry that his philosophical writings attracted the attention they did in this country. This volume is scarcely representative of Sartre's best efforts. Psychoanalytic thought in psychiatry, anthropology, and philosophy will find little or nothing familiar in this very confused book.

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