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Britton, R.S. (1999). Oedipal Paradigms in Collision: Howard H. Covitz. New York: Peter Lang, 1997, 385 pp., $59.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(1):253-255.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(1):253-255

Oedipal Paradigms in Collision: Howard H. Covitz. New York: Peter Lang, 1997, 385 pp., $59.95. Related Papers

Review by:
Ronald S. Britton

This book presents itself both as a review of the development of the concept of the oedipus complex over the last hundred years and as the author's own reconceptualization. The author has a very definite view of his own and works toward this by giving us his own account and critique of the development of psychoanalytic theory within different schools of thought. This approach is reminiscent of that of Guntrip (1969), as are a number of the ideas and judgments in the book. Guntrip's book had a wide appeal for those interested in psychoanalysis who wanted to be brought up to date as quickly as possible with a sketch map of the analytic terrain since Freud and who wanted an alternative to “American orthodoxy.” Covitz, however, is even more partial than Guntrip was.

He begins by giving an account of Freud's ideas from 1897 to the later stages of his life and work. This section is well organized and informative. He follows it with an account of American ego psychology and then describes the thinking of important American analysts such as Mahler, Erikson, and Jacobson. This is the best part of the book; unfortunately for American readers, the account that follows of the European schools of thought about which they might be curious is much less satisfactory. The reader will look in vain for an account of the French school. Except for Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, who is incorrectly described as Kleinian, no French author of note who has written on the oedipus complex features in this historical review.

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