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Sholevar, G.P. (1993). Fantasy, Myth, and Reality: Essays in Honor of Jacob A. Arlow: Edited by Harold P. Blum, Yale Kramer, Arlene K. Richards, and Arnold D. Richards. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1988, 588 pp., $60.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:837-842.
(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:837-842
Fantasy, Myth, and Reality: Essays in Honor of Jacob A. Arlow: Edited by Harold P. Blum, Yale Kramer, Arlene K. Richards, and Arnold D. Richards. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1988, 588 pp., $60.00.
Review by: G. Pirooz Sholevar, M.D.
The hope of an editor is to create a volume with a high level of cohesion and at the same time offer great diversity and excitement to the reader. By organizing the present book along central themes in Jacob Arlow's productive career, the editors have succeeded in providing us with such a gift.
The title of the book states much about the central dimension of intrapsychic life, from unconscious fantasies to encounters with reality, and our shared psychic life with others by way of communal fantasies. Arlow's central concept of unconsciousfantasy has served as the foundation for understanding psychological life.
The book is based on the work of Jacob Arlow, a much admired teacher, theoretician, and leader in psychoanalysis. His influence in the field has been so profound that "the modern analyst often thinks Arlow, talks Arlow, and practices Arlow without altogether knowing it." His great love of stories and symbols has been instrumental in his most important conceptualization—the theory of unconscious fantasies.
For Arlow, unconsciousfantasy is related to unconsciousconflict and infantile trauma resulting in fixation, which means the formation of one or more stable and organized unconscious and potentially pathogenic fantasies. Unconsciousfantasy is a phenomenon akin to daydreams, and there is no sharp distinction between conscious and unconsciousfantasydaydreams. The difference depends essentially on the degree of repression at work.
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