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Roth, N. (1992). Free Associations: Memories of a Psychoanalyst: Ernest Jones, with a new Introduction by Mervyn Jones, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, N.J., and London (Originally published in 1959 by Basic Books, New York), 1990, 271 pp., $19.95 paper.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 20(1):163-164.
(1992). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 20(1):163-164
Free Associations: Memories of a Psychoanalyst: Ernest Jones, with a new Introduction by Mervyn Jones, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, N.J., and London (Originally published in 1959 by Basic Books, New York), 1990, 271 pp., $19.95 paper.
Review by: Nathan Roth, M.D.
As is well known this book was first published in 1959 in the interrupted form occasioned by the death of Ernest Jones. It now appears with an introduction and epilogue, written by Jones's son, Mervyn Jones, intended to compensate in some measure for the deficiencies due to the brevity of the first edition. There is only one happy feature of the premature termination of the autobiography, and that is that it was interrupted so that Jones could write his great biography of Sigmund Freud.
Mervyn Jones is a novelist and his writing gives as much pleasure as does that of his father. They are both superb writers, Ernest Jones having always shown a special interest in language, and having devoted much study to the topic of aphasia. His career follows, in unusual parallelism, that of Freud. Both were originally skillful neurologists, especially interested in aphasia. Jones, however, was first and foremost a physician, a distinction to which Freud would not have laid claim. Jones had intimate contact and work with the pioneer neurosurgeon, Sir Victor Horsley. He says,
… when I was first drawn to neurology in Cardiff days, I was under the spell of biological teaching, and realized that no stable or satisfactory solution could be found for any human problems, notably the social ones, unless it was based on a full knowledge of man's biological nature. This also is a view I still hold more strongly than ever. (p. 88)
Indeed the medical training of Jones before entering upon the work of psychoanalysis is astonishing in its extent; he was trained in surgery, pathology, obstetrics, pediatrics, chest diseases, and so forth.
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