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Schachter, J.S. (1993). The Psychoanalytic Core: Essays in Honor of Leo Rangell, M.D. Edited by Harold P. Blum, Edward M. Weinshel, and F. Robert Rodman. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1989, 536 pp., $60.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:270-273.
(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:270-273
The Psychoanalytic Core: Essays in Honor of Leo Rangell, M.D. Edited by Harold P. Blum, Edward M. Weinshel, and F. Robert Rodman. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1989, 536 pp., $60.00.
Review by: Judith S. Schachter, M.D.
How does one review a festschrift which honors a man who has written more than 250 articles and two books in nearly 40 years of devotion to the theories, techniques, and applications of psychoanalysis—moreover, one whose collected papers have been published in two well edited volumes under a parallel title, The Human Core which includes a section on "The Psychoanalytic Core"? The editors seem to share the difficulty of the reviewer: 24 well-known friends and authors have contributed to the range and diversity of chapters, and they are included, cheek by jowl, as if any attempt to sort them out and categorize them as Leo Rangell has done with his own papers, were impossible. This is an impediment to reading from beginning to end—one is endlessly searching to connect the contributors' words to each other or to connect them to Rangell's work, to little effect. It is best to regard the book for what it is: a mélange of papers by analysts Rangell admires, who express their admiration by contributing birthday treasures. None of the editors provides us with context or counterresponse to the papers or to Rangell's own work, so that flesh and blood and dialogue are lost, and Rangell fails to emerge as an analyst, teacher, and theoretician with his relentless intellectual contention and struggle, whether within himself or with colleagues, except in the papers about him. Unencumbered by a need to synthesize, we can peruse the separate papers in the book and accept the unevenness.
The three opening chapters introduce us to Rangell. J. A. Arlow's personal memoir is a gem, giving us the intimate and beautifully related reverberations between two exceptionally talented men whose professional and personal lives were closely intertwined from their residency in neurology through analytic training. Rodman's contribution on Rangell and the integrity of psychoanalysis evokes an opposite response, since the tone is one of adulation.
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