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Ro He, G. (1922). The Psycho-Analytic Study of the Family: By J. C. Flügel. (International Psycho-Analytical Library No. 3. International Psycho-Analytical Press, London. 1921. vii + 259. Price 10s. 6d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:379-385.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:379-385

The Psycho-Analytic Study of the Family: By J. C. Flügel. (International Psycho-Analytical Library No. 3. International Psycho-Analytical Press, London. 1921. vii + 259. Price 10s. 6d.)

Review by:
Geza Ro He

Anybody who reads merely the title of this book will be struck by the immense field the author intends to cover and on second consideration we shall be even more impressed by the importance and scope of the subject. For we might say that the most important result of psycho-analytic research is to have discovered a prehistorical—because repressed—period in the history of the individual and the race, one at which all those relations which we observe between human beings—direct sexual attachment, hate and rivalry, union and social feeling (i.e. indirect sexual attachment)—were being formed in the family circle. The ambitious aim of the author is therefore to give an exposition of the very pith and kernel of psycho-analysis and we can only say that the book is quite admirable from this point of view. Other summaries of the subject are principally written for the medical student; here we have a handbook which divides its attention between neurology, sociology and anthropology in an impartial and illuminating manner.

The author leads us through well-known fields and expounds them in a manner calculated, at least partly, to overcome the natural resistance felt by the student and general reader when he finds himself compelled to face hard facts such as hatred in the family circle, the Oedipus-complex etc. Children express their views openly on these questions: 'Thus a small boy of five known to the writer solemnly assured his mother that now that his father was permanently away, it would be only right for her to marry him, her son, instead' (p. 18). But foolish grown-ups don't know how much they can learn from their wise infants. Flügel always offers interesting and frequently original remarks.

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