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Britton, R. (1999). Replies. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(3):992-993.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(3):992-993

Replies Related Papers

Ronald Britton

September 2, 1999. Clearly Howard Covitz does not think I have done justice to his work, to his thinking on the subject of the oedipal situation, or to his overview of psychoanalytic theorizing on the nuclear complex. I can but agree that my review does scant justice to the personal, persuasive communication of his ideas to his potential audience; a reviewer is always an intruder in the affair between author and reader that takes place in the writing of a book.

Covitz seems affronted by my likening him to Guntrip, whose books were avidly seized on by an earlier generation of would-be analysts and psychotherapists as an updated overview of psychoanalytic theories. It helped them orient themselves in a confusing field and, for a time at least, spared them reading the originals. Like that of Howard Covitz, Harry Guntrip's approach was both informative and corrective. It not only gave the reader a grasp of various schools of thought; it also aimed to bring her or him to share with the author a supposedly more enlightened point of view. I did not imply in my comparison that Covitz took his ideas from Guntrip but simply made what I believed to be an informative comparison—informative, that is, to readers of the journal. Here I claim the reviewer's privilege of seeing comparisons and drawing attention to them: of not simply describing a book but also of locating it in the psychoanalytic canon.

He also thinks that I have imputed a lack of scholarship to him by suggesting that he knows European psychoanalytic theory, particularly Kleinian, more from secondary than from primary sources.

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