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Rudnytsky, P.L. (2013). From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: A Critique and Integration by Morris N. Eagle Routledge, New York, NY, and London, 2011; 321 pp; $90.00 hardback, $39.95 paperback. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 94(1):191-195.

(2013). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 94(1):191-195

From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: A Critique and Integration by Morris N. Eagle Routledge, New York, NY, and London, 2011; 321 pp; $90.00 hardback, $39.95 paperback

Review by:
Peter L. Rudnytsky

Nearly three decades ago, Morris N. Eagle began Recent Developments in Psychoanalysis: A Critical Evaluation by observing that: “In the last number of years the very face of psychoanalytic theory has changed radically,” and “one is not at all clear as to what remains of traditional psychoanalytic theory” (1984, p. 3). Now, in the book under review, Eagle gears up in very similar fashion: “The last 40 or so years have witnessed a period of great ferment in psychoanalysis” (2011, p. xiii), and he announces his intention to “point the way to the possibility of a partial integration of classical and contemporary theory, one that retains or approaches the clinical and conceptual breadth of classical theory” (p. xvi).

If those familiar with Eagle's earlier work are likely to be struck with a sense of déjà lu, his deep knowledge of the terrain through which he leads the reader in From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis ensures that there is much to be learned from so experienced a guide. Blending indefatigable energy and formidable erudition, Eagle provides a lucid synopsis of the controversies engendered principally by “the object relations theory of Fairbairn, the relational theory of Stephen A. Mitchell, the self psychology theory of Heinz Kohut, and the intersubjective theory of Robert Stolorow and his colleagues” (p. xiv) that will assist neophytes in gaining their bearings in this riven landscape while affording intriguing new vistas to seasoned scholars and practitioners of psychoanalysis.

Still in the Preface, Eagle declares: “My own views and biases will be evident. It will be very clear that I believe that some ideas are unwarranted, wrong-headed, or untenable and that other ideas are more warranted, likely to be correct, and tenable” (p. xv).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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