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Glover, E. (1956). Principles of Psychoanalysis. Their Application to the Neuroses: By Herman Nunberg, M.D. Foreword by Sigmund Freud. Trans. by Madlyn Kahr and Sidney Kahr, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1956. 382 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 25:586-589.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:586-589

Principles of Psychoanalysis. Their Application to the Neuroses: By Herman Nunberg, M.D. Foreword by Sigmund Freud. Trans. by Madlyn Kahr and Sidney Kahr, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1956. 382 pp.

Review by:
Edward Glover

The appearance in an English translation of a revised and greatly extended version of Nunberg's Allgemeine Neurosenlehre auf psychoanalytischer Grundlage (first published in Berne in 1932) is an occasion for congratulating the author, his publishers, and not least, his readers. By comparison with the almost geometrical progression of clinical contributions to psychoanalysis, the systematic literature of the subject grows but tardily. In the old days it was sufficient for the quondam pioneers to produce a volume of collected papers—Ernest Jones's series being perhaps the best example—which by appropriate selection of subject indicated and illumined the general outline of freudian theory. But, apart from Freud's own Introductory Lectures, few books have appeared that can be regarded as treatises. This may perhaps be due to the clinical preoccupations of most analytical writers, though a more likely explanation is that few analysts have either the comprehensive grasp of detail or the capacity for synthesis to produce a systematic account of psychoanalytic theory. Herman Nunberg is one of the outstanding exceptions. Both student and practitioner of psychoanalysis will find here a detailed, reliable, authoritative, clearly written and admirably illustrated account of psychoanalytic theory, having at all points a close bearing on the psychoneuroses, the actual neuroses, neurotic character and, mostly for purposes of comparison, the mechanisms of the psychoses.

It must have been a hard decision for the author to retain the original form of his book, which, being based on courses of lectures and occasional papers, involved a process of filleting and lacing with the theories and findings of the past twenty-odd years. His decision to do so has involved a certain amount of repetitiousness and overlapping; but in view of the quality of his presentation there is no great harm in this, indeed some pedagogic advantage. At the same time one does get the impression that had Dr. Nunberg abandoned the lecture course form, he would have produced a definitive streamlined textbook of psychoanalysis.

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