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Calef, V. (1973). The Psychoanalysis of the Total Personality. The Application of Freud's Theory of the Ego to the Neuroses: By Franz Alexander, M.D. (Authorized English translation by Bernard Glueck, M.D. and Bertram D. Lewin, M.D.) College Park, Md.: McGrath Publishing Co., 1970. 176 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:123-127.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:123-127

The Psychoanalysis of the Total Personality. The Application of Freud's Theory of the Ego to the Neuroses: By Franz Alexander, M.D. (Authorized English translation by Bernard Glueck, M.D. and Bertram D. Lewin, M.D.) College Park, Md.: McGrath Publishing Co., 1970. 176 pp.

Review by:
Victor Calef

The precise etiology of the neuroses has not as yet been discovered. The recognition that libidinal conflicts, elaborated genetically, were at the core of the neuroses never completely satisfied many psychoanalysts, who then sought and found other explanations. Some of these explanations de-emphasized the sexual etiology in varying degrees. Theories like the one postulated by Rank on the birth trauma and the one stated by Adler on organ inferiority were among those which attempted to erase the importance of sexual conflicts. Many of these efforts represented, and finally led to, open breaks with Freud and the mainstream of psychoanalysis.

Only partly in contrast, the contribution by Franz Alexander reviewed here (an adaptation of lectures he gave in Berlin during 1924 and 1925)1 makes the repeated claim that he is but following the lead initiated by Freud in placing the 'death instinct' at the etiological core of the neuroses. It would appear, judging from his frequent references to Freud as the source and originator of his thesis, that he wished to elaborate the then most recent findings of psychoanalysis and to avoid controversy. Moreover, his stated goals are relatively modest. They include: 1, the exposition of the primary goal of the superego (especially the gratification of the need for suffering) in symptom-formation; and 2, the demonstration of the clinical validity and value of Freud's last dual instinct theory (especially the death instinct) as the dynamic and causal core of the neuroses.

This

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