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Brierley, M. (1936). Specific Determinants in Feminine Development. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 17:163-180.

(1936). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 17:163-180

Specific Determinants in Feminine Development Language Translation

Marjorie Brierley

The study of feminine development presents us with the same kind of difficulty that we meet to-day in all our problems of ætiology. In any given case we may be able to follow with fair accuracy the series of mental events that have issued in the final adjustment or maladjustment of personality. By comparison of individual feelings we do arrive at useful generalizations concerning the type of mental event most likely to predominate in a given class of case, and the phase, stage or age-period which appears to be critical for such cases. But it is still a matter of great difficulty to arrive at specific factors which switch development along one line in preference to any other. Alternatively, it is hard to say who one particular line of development is left open and all others become closed. The deeper we carry our analyses the more convinced we become that it is the initial events that are supremely important, because their effects modify all later ones. Thus, whatever differences of opinion still exist as to the age at which true genital impulses appear, it is now generally agreed that the nature of the 'classical' Oedipus phase is largely determined by the preceding 'oral' and 'anal' history. It is just these initial events, the beginnings of development in the first weeks and months of life, that are still chiefly matters of hypothetical reconstruction. It is so difficult to obtain reliable data about them.

In any theoretical discussion of development we have always to take into account three sets of factors, namely, instinctual drives, ego-capacities and environmental factors.

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