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Zuger, B. (1952). The Forgotten Language. By Erich Fromm. Rinehart and Co., 1951. 263 pp. $3.50.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 12(1):82-83.

(1952). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 12(1):82-83

Book Reviews

The Forgotten Language. By Erich Fromm. Rinehart and Co., 1951. 263 pp. $3.50.

Review by:
Bernard Zuger, M.D.

Fromm's new book forms an integral part of the theme that runs through his “Escape from Freedom,” “Man for Himself” and “Psychoanalysis and Religion.” The solution for man's problems does not lie in listening to the sweet calls of authorities outside himself, secular or divine. It lies only within himself. He must therefore listen to himself and learn to understand his own language, his dreams and myths. Dreams tell him something of his own soul and its deepest experiencings, and myths that of the generations that preceded him.

Fromm describes his book as “an introduction to the understanding of dreams, fairy tales and myths.” It includes chapters entitled “The Nature of Symbolic Language,” “The Nature of Dreams,” “Freud and Jung,” “The History of Dream Interpretation,” “The Art of Dream Interpretation” and “Symbolic Language in Myth, Fairy Tale, Ritual and Novel.” In general Fromm's treatment of these topics is elementary. The theoretical remarks on symbolism do not mention the work of others, such as Whitehead, Casirer or Langer. Its operation in dreams is limited for the most part to stating how he agrees or disagrees with Freud or Jung.

He divides symbols into three categories, one of which is that of universal symbols, although at one point he proceeds to modify that until its universality is washed out of it. One wonders what real issue is at stake for psychoanalysis in the question of the existence of universal symbols.

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