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Covitz, H. (1999). Responds to Review. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(3):989-992.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(3):989-992

Responds to Review Related Papers

Howard Covitz

June 30, 1999. In his review (JAPA 47/1) of my Oedipal Paradigms in Collision (Peter Lang, 1997), Ronald Britton indicates that he “whole-heartedly” shares the point of view espoused in the volume, which he suggests is reminiscent of Guntrip's position (1969). Britton, however, chooses neither to present the argument of the volume nor to mention its methods. The skeptical style of the book itself (which after four hundred pages refuses to come to a univocal conclusion about its own correctness or the classical oedipal model's failings) receives no attention—nor is the more than one-hundred-page informal metaanalysis of empirical studies (which attempts to evaluate Freud's models with a novel “elemental” one) so much as noted. No mention is made of attempts to recast the oedipus complex or to redefine the superego. Half of the review discusses Britton's sense that the French and Kleinian schools of psychoanalysis are ignored by the work at hand. In the middle of his brief review, he cites the book's “major concern” as the “relocation of the oedipal situation and its implications for cognitive development.” (I'm not at all certain how Britton arrived at this thoroughly unsupportable conclusion. I'm left with the presumption—and only that—that in locating the argument's “major concern” outside the courtyards of depth psychology and focusing on cognitive development, the reviewer is able to cast doubt on the value of the work to analysts without openly doing so.) He goes on to impugn the scholarship of the work, as he notes his impression … that [its] author relies on secondary and even tertiary sources for information about non-American writing….” If this were only incorrect, it might be excusable. The remark reminds me, however, of Masson's comment, similarly en passant, about Anna Freud's sexuality in a piece years ago in Tikkun (memory would have it that the piece was called “Me and Anna Freud”). In Britton's defense, it should be noted that he openly contextualizes his sharper and more personal note[s]” against the work as arising from his identity as a member of the post-Kleinians, who purportedly are treated by me “as member[s] of an extinct species or one not yet conceived.”


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