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Applegarth, A. (1977). Female Sexuality and the Oedipus Complex: By Humberto Nagera. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1975. 143 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 46:693-695.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:693-695

Female Sexuality and the Oedipus Complex: By Humberto Nagera. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1975. 143 pp.

Review by:
Adrienne Applegarth

In this economically and clearly written book, Nagera has summarized part of the psychoanalytic theory of the development of the oedipus complex in the female. This topic has been a difficult and a complex one and the subject of important dispute from the early days of psychoanalysis.

The author begins with a historical review of the evolution of the concept of oedipal development, dwelling particularly on the complicated ways in which the attachment of the girl to the mother has been designated, including, of course, both the attachment that is part of the oedipus complex proper as well as that of the preoedipal phases. Several chapters are devoted to a systematic presentation of the stages of the oedipus complex; in these, Nagera clarifies the distinction between the first, or phallic-oedipal stage, and the second, or oedipal stage. Following Freud, he considers the girl to be "masculine" in the phallic-oedipal phase, taking the mother as her object and believing that all humans possess penises.

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