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McIntyre, W.M. (1968). Psychodynamic Studies of Aging, Creativity, Reminiscing and Dying: Edited by Sidney Levin and Ralph Kahana. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1967. Pp. 345. $7.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:742-743.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:742-743

Psychodynamic Studies of Aging, Creativity, Reminiscing and Dying: Edited by Sidney Levin and Ralph Kahana. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1967. Pp. 345. $7.00.)

Review by:
W. M. McIntyre

There are a number of ideas of interest in this Boston Symposium. As well as describing his "memoirium", which is a library of tapes from the mouths of the famous, Butler's interest in creativity leads him to describe the "autodidact" personality, who seems to be his own provider, taking nothing from others till it has first become his own, or for that matter (pace Butler's insistence on his being creative) taking nothing from his inner self, all of which can shed a useful sidelight on some analytic difficulties. That old soldiers never die so long as they keep on telling old soldier's tales, is a finding of McMahon and Rhudick, who believe that this involves a working through as well as a clinging to objects. Weisman and Hackett ("Denial as a Social Act") mark stages in denial, distinguishing the rejection of part of a shared reality, which can lead to a recorded point of view and possible reorientation, from denial as a repudiation of the person leading to alienation, as in bullies, braggarts, and bigots, as well as in doctors treating aging patients when solicitous attention can be accompanied by such repudiation. He finds that old people's fears relate more to isolation than to death. Payne shows that to the child death is a living isolation. His account of doctor-patient relationship under the threat of death in a tumour clinic echoes transference experiences in psychoanalysis, with the revival of such early anxieties, and the need for resolution of the doctor's aggressive conflicts, or, in Tarachow's words, the desire to kill. Payne's aim is the keeping open of communication with the dying, which can be blocked alike by denial and by aggressive frankness. Old age or earlier dying can be hard tests, exposing defects in object relations such as the rigid insistence on independence as a reaction formation which is cited here.

The discussion on the papers is the liveliest part of the book.

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