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Esman, A.H. (1993). Immaterial Facts. Freud's Discovery of Psychic Reality and Klein's Development of his Work: By Robert Caper, M.D. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1988. 266 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 62:653-655.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 62:653-655

Immaterial Facts. Freud's Discovery of Psychic Reality and Klein's Development of his Work: By Robert Caper, M.D. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1988. 266 pp.

Review by:
Aaron H. Esman

The negative views of Freudian orthodoxy notwithstanding, Melanie Klein, along with her followers, always believed that she was the true heir to Freud's scientific legacy. Although her ideas have achieved wide recognition and support in much of the psychoanalytic world, they have gained little acceptance in the United States. At most, grudging acknowledgment of the value of her explorations of preoedipal development has accompanied general skepticism about her theoretical system and her technical approaches.

In this clearly written book, Caper, an analyst of adults and children in California, attempts to validate the Kleinian claim, by presenting in language accessible to both lay and professional readers the evolution and theoretical foundations of Freud's thought and, in sequence, how in Caper's view Klein's concepts have built upon, extended, and/or corrected them. Caper's retelling of Freud's intellectual progress from (in Sulloway's terms) "biologist of the mind" to a more truly psychological conception of its development, function, and structure is lucid, accurate, scholarly, and fair-minded. It would serve well as a text for beginning students (and, indeed, as a refresher for those who are more advanced). His emphasis throughout is on Freud's evolving construction of the notion of "psychic reality" and its centrality in the shaping of consciousness. Using Little Hans as his test case, he shows how Freud's ideas were progressively remodeled as clinical data required this, and how, ultimately, his revision of the theory of anxiety led him to new insights about aggression as well.

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