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Curtis, H.C. (1967). A Psychoanalytic Dialogue. The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham, 1907-1926: Edited by Hilda C. Abraham and Ernst L. Freud. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1965. 406 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 36:91-93.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:91-93

A Psychoanalytic Dialogue. The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham, 1907-1926: Edited by Hilda C. Abraham and Ernst L. Freud. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1965. 406 pp.

Review by:
Homer C. Curtis

With the appearance of this book more illumination of the beginnings of psychoanalysis has been added to that already provided by the publication of Freud's letters to Fliess, his general correspondence from 1873 to 1939, his correspondence with Pfister, and the Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Association. The particular value of this contribution is declared in the title itself. This is a dialogue between two who lived and made the history of a most fascinating, productive, and troubled period in psychoanalysis. At first as master and pupil, they range over a wide variety of topics: clinical, theoretical, social, political (psychoanalytic as well as international), and personal problems. The relationship matures, as does Abraham the psychoanalyst, until at last we see him exchanging ideas as an equal and even confronting Freud with unpleasant realities the latter had been avoiding. The mutual respect and warmth by far outweigh the occasional disagreements (mainly in their different judgments of Jung and Rank) but it was characteristic of Abraham to take a stand, forthrightly though sometimes regretfully, whenever he believed the welfare of psychoanalysis (and Freud) was at stake.

A happy inspiration was the inclusion of an introduction by Edward Glover. From the double vantage point of his position of eminence in psychoanalysis and his having been Abraham's analysand he provides the reader with some foresight and historical perspective, including a brief sketch of Abraham's life. After reading the book one cannot but agree with Glover's disagreement with those analysts who would consider the works of earlier analysts outmoded. One is struck by the freshness and continued validity of most of the analytic ideas the correspondents discuss in language refreshingly free of jargon.

To

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