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Blank, H.R. (1955). Child Psychology: By Arthur T. Jersild, Ph.D. Fourth Edition. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1954. 676 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 24:302-303.

(1955). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 24:302-303

Child Psychology: By Arthur T. Jersild, Ph.D. Fourth Edition. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1954. 676 pp.

Review by:
H. Robert Blank

This fourth edition of a well-known introductory textbook by the Professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, is distinctly better than the bulk of collegiate books on child psychology. Its style is simple, generally lucid, and it is relatively uncluttered by the turgid hedging, graphs, tables, and footnotes which so often parade as scientific writing. Jersild's approach is dynamic and eclectic; he has been increasingly influenced by psychoanalysis in spite of the lacunæ in his reading of recent contributions. Particularly to be noted is the omission from the bibliography of E. H. Erikson's Childhood and Society.

It would be captious to list all the points with which the psychoanalytic reader may take issue, but certain major deficiencies should be discussed especially because of the book's deserved popularity and the likelihood of a fifth edition. Jersild leans heavily on the writers who are heroically reconstructing psychoanalysis with the aim of eliminating the unconscious. His own ambivalence about unconscious psychic processes is revealed by his invariable use of the term unconscious in quotation marks—he is too forthright to use clumsy circumlocutions—and without using the term he frequently presents material which any psychoanalyst would regard as nicely exemplifying unconscious forces in operation.

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