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Lerner, J.A. (2001). The Unknown Karen Horney: Essays on Gender, Culture, and Psychoanalysis. Edited by Bernard J. Paris. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000, 384 pp., $35.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 49(4):1442-1443.
(2001). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 49(4):1442-1443
The Unknown Karen Horney: Essays on Gender, Culture, and Psychoanalysis. Edited by Bernard J. Paris. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000, 384 pp., $35.00.
Review by: Joyce A. Lerner
With the publication of this volume, along with some previously published but inaccessible writings, all of Karen Horney's hitherto unpublished works are now in print. Bernard J. Paris, a literary critic and Homey biographer and scholar who has long devoted himself to Horneyan studies, has collected and painstakingly edited the compilation. Where necessary, he has overseen translations from the German. Paris introduces each of the two parts of the book as well as each paper. His comments place the contributions in the context of the evolution of psychoanalysis and of Horney's development. With his illuminating commentary, Paris expands our appreciation of Horney and her work.
Part 1 contains Horney's papers on feminine psychology and the relations between the sexes through three periods: from her perspective as a female Freudian analyst, from the vantage of her shift from Freud's model toward object relations and the impact of culture, and from the standpoint of her mature theory. Her writings address such topics as love, marriage, sadism, sexuality, menstrual disorders, and pregnancy. Paris clarifies her eventual move away from emphasizing female psychology and culture.
Part II is devoted to Horney's other writings as she created and refined her own theory. It includes full papers as well as abstracts, symposia, and brief items. Especially notable in this section are Horney's “classic” papers, which for the first time are available to a wider psychoanalytic audience. “The Value of Vindictiveness” is an exposition of the defensive importance of vengefulness. “The Paucity of Inner Experiences” describes the sense of inner emptiness that results from distancing from all that one thinks, feels, and is. “On Feeling Abused” explores the personal sense of being victimized. Paris notes that the last paper is particularly relevant in the current climate, in which perceptions of victimization are often unquestioningly accepted as valid. Also collected here is Horney's letter of resignation from the New York Psychoanalytic Society. In it she describes what continues within institutes to be a battle, the clash between “classicists” and “nonclassicists” over what shall be taught, how much say candidates have over their own education, and to what extent dissidents can be tolerated.
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