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Kaplan, D. (1959). Freud and The 20Th Century. Edited by Benjamin Nelson. New York: Meridian Books, Inc., 1957. pp. 314. $1.60. Sigmund Freud: On Creativity and the Unconscious. Selected with introduction and annotations by Benjamin Nelson. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1958. pp. x + 310. $1.85.. Psychoanal. Rev., 46A(1):122-124.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Review, 46A(1):122-124

Book Reviews

Freud and The 20Th Century. Edited by Benjamin Nelson. New York: Meridian Books, Inc., 1957. pp. 314. $1.60. Sigmund Freud: On Creativity and the Unconscious. Selected with introduction and annotations by Benjamin Nelson. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1958. pp. x + 310. $1.85.

Review by:
Donald Kaplan

Marking the hundredth anniversary of Freud's birth, the year 1956 was the occasion of an immense response to a figure who, for over fifty years, had increasingly stimulated the scientific and cultural sensibilities of the entire civilized world. Vitalized considerably by the almost strategic appearance of a mass of hitherto unavailable material on Freud, notably the Fleiss letters and the Ernest Jones biography, this response took on a quality not of mere acknowledgment, which had become so characteristic of the response to Freud during the two previous decades, but of re-discovery. Thus, we seem to be once more at the very threshold of appraising the leviathan-like structure of Freud's thought and the astounding scope of his influence. Indeed, as Benjamin Nelson suggests in his preface to Freud and the 20th Century, “Too few years are left in the present Century to exhaust the dimensions of his message or to approximate the substance of his hopes.” Here is a task, moreover, that obviously exceeds the competence of any one intellectual discipline. But it is one of the virtues of our present decade that the professional philosopher, theologian, historian, art-critic, experimentalist, sociologist—an expanding range of intellectual specialists—have begun to prove capable of engaging Freud with the urgency, pertinence, and authority previously reserved only for the clinician.

With discerning taste and enterprise, Benjamin Nelson has compiled two books that embody the spirit of this current concern with Freud.

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