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Person, E.S. (1992). The Anatomy of Loving: The Story of Man's Quest to Know what Love is: By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1987, 302 pp., $37.00; paperback, $14.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:845-849.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:845-849

The Anatomy of Loving: The Story of Man's Quest to Know what Love is: By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1987, 302 pp., $37.00; paperback, $14.50.

Review by:
Ethel S. Person, M.D.

Although Bergmann claims there is no dearth of new books being published on the subject of love, such is not entirely the case within the psychoanalytic world. Out of modesty, he fails to mention that for many years he, almost alone among analysts, labored for love, his papers being among the very few psychoanalytic studies on the subject. It is to Bergmann's great credit that he recognized love as a motivational agent during that long psychoanalytic winter when theorists spoke more of libidinal dispositions and transformations than of affective emotional life or of subjective life altogether. Bergmann's first paper on love was published in 1971, though it is clear from his easy familiarity with the vast love literature outside psychoanalysis that his interest even then was of long standing. Very much his own man, he had an interest in the subject arising out of some deep inner source rather than being fished up from a passing current. Some decade and a half after his first love paper, his Anatomy of Loving is one of love's first book-length psychoanalytic treatments. With this work, Bergmann makes a minor contribution to the story of man's conception of love throughout the ages, but a major one to systematizing and synthesizing psychoanalytic theories of love, particularly Freud's.

In the first half of his book, Bergmann details what he calls "the growth of the vocabulary of love" beginning with love poetry in ancient Egypt, leading us through many eras—Hellenistic, Roman, and Biblical times, and the Middle Ages—concluding with a look at Shakespeare and love's theorists from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century; in the second half of the book, he reviews the contributions of psychoanalysis to our understanding of love.

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