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Z., G. (1956). The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, Volume II. Years of Maturity 1901-1919: By Ernest Jones, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1955. 512 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 25:260-261.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:260-261

The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, Volume II. Years of Maturity 1901-1919: By Ernest Jones, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1955. 512 pp.

Review by:
G. Z.

The efforts of Ernest Jones to present a definitive biography of Freud continue at a considerable pace. The second volume might appear easier to read (particularly for psychoanalysts), but it must have been quite a bit more difficult to write, or to write well. This second volume covers what Jones calls the years of maturity: up to 1919. To summarize more or less succinctly the writings of Freud during that period must have been very difficult. The material has become so familiar to us through these years that to make a compact and succinct synthesis was a great task.

In this task Jones has succeeded to an extent, but not entirely. The difficulty, or the error, must lie in the fact that Jones chose to arrange the material in strictly chronological order. The order is there, to be sure, but a considerable loss of the dynamic, creative flow of Freud's thought has resulted from the acceptance of this strictly chronological order. It makes, moreover, for repetitiveness, and here and there one finds a quotation repetitively referred to or textually cited. One would wish to see a smaller number of errors, although a certain number of errors are bound to creep into the execution of such a gigantic task as a three-volume biography.

It is impossible to avoid comparing this second volume with the first. The first dealt with material which was not only new to readers but to the author himself. The freshness of approach and the heroic dimensions of the undertaking are at once perceived. It may be unfair to make such a comparison for, after all, the elements of objectivity and yet surprise, which are so valuable in a biographical study, cannot be present to the same extent in this second volume that covers a period during which the author himself was not only an active but not always a fully unprejudiced participant. This is perhaps the reason why Jones fell into the error of trying to refute some foolish statements found in Puner's inconsequential 'biography' of Freud. This might also be the reason why one finds here and there an unnecessary barb directed at Rank or Ferenczi.

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