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Burland, J.A. (1991). The Memoirs of Margaret S. Mahler: Compiled and edited by Paul E. Stepansky. New York: Free Press, 1988, xi + 179 pp., $17.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:262-264.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:262-264

The Memoirs of Margaret S. Mahler: Compiled and edited by Paul E. Stepansky. New York: Free Press, 1988, xi + 179 pp., $17.95.

Review by:
J. Alexis Burland, M.D.

This slim volume, although written in the first-person style of an autobiography, is in fact a compilation. It began with memoirs dictated by Mahler in 1980-1981, reworked in 1984 by Stepansky, and then read and approved of at that time by Mahler herself, a project that was interrupted because, in part, other priorities occupied too much of her time. Following her death in 1985, at the request of the Executors of Mahler's Estate, this material was synthesized with a number of additional interview transcripts of autobiographical reflections dating from the 'sixties and 'seventies, including materials from an oral history prepared for Columbia University, and a videotaped interview with Dr. William Langford. Finally, this material was fleshed out with information obtained from interviews held with several of her colleagues and friends. Though Stepansky acknowledges that Mahler might not have agreed with each and every turn of phrase, he believes that she would have approved overall of the final version of her memoirs as she had approved of the edited version of her 1980-1981 material. I have no reason to quarrel; these memoirs read well, and certainly reveal the intellectual honesty, the outspokenness, and the clarity of perception that were characteristic of her.

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