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De Saussure, J. (1969). Imagination and Reality: By Charles Rycroft. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis; New York: Int. Univ. Press. 1968. Pp. 143.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:408-411.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:408-411

Imagination and Reality: By Charles Rycroft. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis; New York: Int. Univ. Press. 1968. Pp. 143.

Review by:
Janice De Saussure

This book is a collection of 10 psychoanalytical essays written by Dr Charles Rycorft during the years 1951–61. Each of these describes certain manifestations of the imaginative faculty with the aim of discovering how imagination contributes to the development of perceptions and conceptions of external reality and how it influences affective relations to that reality. As Rycroft is primarily concerned with studying the individual in terms of his continuous interactions with his environment, he deliberately minimizes discussion of the exclusively intrapsychic aspects of development. The outstanding contribution made in these essays is Rycroft's clinical demonstration and theoretical formulation of a concept of the unity of psychic functioning in which the primary processes are considered to be interwoven and integrated with the secondary processes in the normal development of a sense of reality and of an affective investment in it. His thinking constitutes a needed addition to psychoanalytic literature in which the imaginative functions are most frequently discussed as either escapes from or hindrances to establishment of a relationship to external objects.

Rycroft's first essay is a study of the dream screen. Using extensive clinical material from one of his own cases as a basis for his conclusions, he makes two interesting additions to Lewin's concepts. First, he demonstrates that the dream screen phenomenon occurs during psychoanalytic treatment when the patient is attempting to renounce a narcissistic position and to reestablish contact with an external object.

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