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Hartogs, R. (1962). Magic, Myth and Money. By William Desmonde. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1962. Pp. 208. $5.. Psychoanal. Rev., 49D(4):124.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Review, 49D(4):124

Magic, Myth and Money. By William Desmonde. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1962. Pp. 208. $5.

Review by:
Renatus Hartogs

The significance and role which money plays in modern society as a medium of aggression, power, emotional or material security cannot be underestimated. The author makes an erudite attempt to relate money and its meaning to its original symbolic values and anthropological roots in magic and myth. As a sociologist and a philosopher, Dr. Desmonde succeeds in showing the reader how money as symbol and institution has influenced human thought, emotion and interaction throughout the centuries. He fails when he attempts to develop a psychopathology of money, inasmuch as he focusses only on money as a means to show aggression, to “prove oneself,” to demand attention or to overcome feelings of inferiority and “sinful worthlessness.” The author omits, among other subjects, to deal with the relationship of money to masochism or to delve into the problems of identification, sublimation and reaction-formation, as they relate directly to money as a powerful, pathogenic or conflictual agent. This book will prove valuable and fascinating to the sociologist and the anthropologist, but will disappoint the psychoanalytically and clinically oriented reader.

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