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Arlow, J.A. (1956). The Collected Papers of Otto Fenichel. Second Series: Edited by Hanna Fenichel and David Rapaport. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1954. 374 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 25:87-88.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:87-88

The Collected Papers of Otto Fenichel. Second Series: Edited by Hanna Fenichel and David Rapaport. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1954. 374 pp.

Review by:
Jacob A. Arlow

This second volume, consisting of twenty-seven papers written between 1936 and 1946, completes the collection of the contributions made by Otto Fenichel to psychoanalysis. Written at the prime of his creative and clinical experience, these papers examine psychoanalytically a broad range of subjects. With boundless versatility Fenichel passes from such problems as acting, politics, and dream psychology to technical difficulties in treatment, acting out, education, and psychosomatic medicine, often within the same paper.

At a recent meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, Anna Freud paid passing tribute to Fenichel's encyclopedic and integrative knowledge of psychoanalysis. She said that she shares with other investigators the practice of seeing what Fenichel said about a subject before embarking on further search of analytic literature. For a generation that cut its psychoanalytic eyeteeth on Fenichel's The Psychoanalytic Theory of the Neuroses, the contents of this volume will naturally have a familiar, reminiscent, and sometimes repetitious ring. Repetitiousness is an unavoidable consequence of publishing together papers originally intended to stand alone. In each contribution the author, quite naturally, re-emphasizes his unique approach and his characteristic point of view.

The essentials of Fenichel's psychoanalytic orientation emerge with clarity in these papers. He was a therapist who worked close to the facts learned in clinical experience, using clinical applicability as the first criterion for evaluating theoretical formulations. It is in the elucidation of conscious attitudes by tracing their origin from the conflict over unconscious infantile strivings that Fenichel is at his most creative and his best. In this respect he bore to the end the imprint of the formative years of his psychoanalytic training. The papers entitled The Symbolic Equation: Girl=Phallus and The Counterphobic Attitude have a classic quality because they deal exhaustively and definitively with seemingly simple concepts which nonetheless have rich practical and clinical implications.

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