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Buxbaum, E. (1956). The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume X: New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1955. 394 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 25:418-422.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:418-422

The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume X: New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1955. 394 pp.

Review by:
Edith Buxbaum

The tenth volume of The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child contains a number of important papers. As in former volumes of this annual, the range of topics goes far beyond the psychoanalysis and psychology of the child. Theoretical and clinical subjects are given equal consideration.

The first part of this volume deals with problems of ego development. Heinz Hartmann and Ernst Kris discuss sublimation. Hartmann in Notes on the Theory of Sublimation starts with a historical review of the idea of sublimation, a concept that has undergone changes with the development of ego psychology in the same manner as other concepts of the theory of instincts. Sublimation, which had been considered one of the vicissitudes of the instincts, is given a place among the ego functions. Hartmann points out that neither the aggressive instinct nor the sexual instinct can be used for sublimation. Although these instincts may give an initial push in the direction of sublimation, they are likely to disturb it eventually by sexualizing or aggressivizing it. Sublimation—that is, creative activity and learning—is most consistently supported by neutralized energy, derived from both aggressive and libidinal drives, which is at the disposal of the ego. Hartmann adds, however, that there may exist a hereditary core of instinctual as well as of ego functions—a theory that emphasizes constitutional traits and that antedates psychoanalysis—which would make it necessary to assume that a part of mental energy may from the very first belong to the ego. Thus 'talent' and 'natural abilities' are coming into their own again with the idea that the ego can develop them best when undisturbed by libidinal drives and conflicts. Hartmann and Kris, in previous papers, have suggested that the ego functions best in the conflict-free sphere—an idea not mentioned but implied in this paper.

Ernst Kris's paper, Neutralization and Sublimation, attempts to demonstrate the process of sublimation in the paintings of children under five years of age.

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