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Notman, M.T. (1983). Women's Sexual Development: Explorations of Inner Space: Edited by Martha Kirkpatrick, M.D. New York: Plenum Publishing Co., 1980. 298 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 52:111-113.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:111-113

Women's Sexual Development: Explorations of Inner Space: Edited by Martha Kirkpatrick, M.D. New York: Plenum Publishing Co., 1980. 298 pp.

Review by:
Malkah T. Notman

In the burgeoning group of books related to women and women's issues this book occupies a unique place. Kirkpatrick has brought together an interesting and wide-ranging collection of papers. Her goal is to present a variety of points of view on "contemporary issues, controversies and questions about female sexual development" (p. ix). Volumes of collections of papers by experts in a field or about a particular topic have become popular recently. They entail the risk of unevenness of style, depth, and scope, but offer the gain of bringing together the commitment and expertise of multiple authors with fresh points of view to illuminate different facets of an issue. At its best, this form permits a dialogue and a provocative encounter.

The book's chapters vary in their sophistication, richness, and informativeness. They are well integrated, however, by an introductory comment in each section by the editor, and the level of the contributions in general is high. In some areas the reader emerges with a real feeling for the complexity of the topic and for the controversy surrounding it.

Kirkpatrick has included historical, literary, physiological, psychological, psychoanalytic, medical, and educational approaches to female sexual development in her book. There are sixteen chapters and five discussion sections, each by a different author, as well as a preface and an introductory comment about each group of papers by the editor. Some of the papers are restatements of material appearing elsewhere.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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