Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

(1975). Book Notices. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 23:253-266.

(1975). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 23:253-266

Book Notices

SISYPHUS OR THE LIMITS OF EDUCATION. By Siegfried Bernfeld. Translated by Frederic Lilge. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1973, xxx + 120 pp., $6.75.

Bernfeld's monograph of 1925 has hitherto been unavailable in English; its translation by a Professor of Education bears witness to the impact of psychoanalysis on educational theory. In a brief Foreword, Anna Freud stresses that this analytic contribution to education is potentially much greater today than it was half a century ago. A more extensive Preface by Professor Peter Paret, Bernfeld's stepson, provides biographical information about the author and places the book in its historical context. In order to grasp Bernfeld's intent in this work, the failure of the residential school he had founded in 1919 as well as his passionate commitment to psychoanalysis, Marxism, and Zionism must be understood.

Sisyphus began with the assumption that the educational system was urgently in need of reform, in spite of the lack of adequate theoretical understanding upon which to base this necessary change. Hence, the theoretical limits of the power of education constituted the subject of Bernfeld's inquiry. He was not interested in the empirical technology of instruction, but only in the underlying educational philosophy. This had generally developed without much actual experience in working with children, having been based instead on individual preconceptions about the psychology of childhood and utopian schemes of ethical reform.

Bernfeld defined education broadly as the process whereby children are acculturated. He saw the function of the schools as only one of the means to that end. The modern school system is the product of an eighteenth-century pedagogical revolution initiated by Rousseau and Pestalozzi, that is, it developed in the context of the radical social changes of our era.

[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.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.