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Clemmens, E.R. (1982). The Adolescent Diaries of Karen Homey: Marianne Horney Eckardt, Basic Books, New York, 1980.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 10(1):147-151.

(1982). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 10(1):147-151

The Adolescent Diaries of Karen Homey: Marianne Horney Eckardt, Basic Books, New York, 1980.

Review by:
Edward R. Clemmens, M.D.

Through a combination of fortunate coincidences, charmingly told by Marianne Horney Eckardt in a foreword, we now have in English translation Karen Horney's adolescent diaries. They span the years from age 13 to 26, at which time she had graduated from medical school, was married, had one daughter, and had already been in psychoanalysis with Karl Abraham. The frequency of entries into the diaries varies greatly. There are periods of daily observations, followed by long gaps of weeks, months, and even a year. Karen Horney had never intended these writings for any use other than personal recollection. She says so in an early entry and she was known to be a private person. I must confess that I still feel a bit squeamish upon reading what was so obviously intended for nobody's eyes.

To say that these diaries are impressive is an understatement. They are so filled with aliveness that the girl, and later the young woman, is felt as a physical presence. Her opening sentence, written at age 13, conveys her spirit; “… I am enthusiastic about everything new.” And indeed she was! Entry upon entry in the early years deals with accounts of her doings, but they are never just descriptive. Whatever she is interested in she becomes passionately involved with. She is intensely fond of her girlfriend, has wild romantic crushes on teachers, both male and female, dislikes others keenly, is deliriously happy with her mother and brother, and dislikes her father with equal fervor. She certainly is not ambivalent about him, as has been claimed elsewhere.

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