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Pulver, S.E. (1989). The Anatomy of Loving. The Story of Man's Quest to Know what Love is: By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. 302 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:655-658.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:655-658

The Anatomy of Loving. The Story of Man's Quest to Know what Love is: By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. 302 pp.

Review by:
Sydney E. Pulver

This book tells "the story of man's quest to know what love is." As befits such a tale, it roams the centuries, explores many cultures, and visits in them the literature, mythology, songs, and other products of human creativity, looking always for love. It is an encyclopedia of love. The author aims it at Egyptologists, classical scholars, Biblical scholars, Shakespearean scholars, historians, philosophers, humanists, mental health professionals, including, of course, "those who value psychoanalysis," all in addition to the general reader, a mighty scope. But the author's grasp equals his reach; there is something here for all of these groups.

The first of two sections of the book is devoted to tracing "The Growth of the Vocabulary of Love." It examines love in Egypt, Sumer, Greece (next to Freud, Plato contributed most to our understanding of love), Rome, the Hebraic culture, the Old and New Testaments, and Western culture from the middle ages through Shakespeare and Milton to the disenchantment of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. All of this is done from the vantage point of psychoanalytic enlightenment, but a detailed discussion of psychoanalytic views on love is saved for the second section. In this are discourses on what Freud learned from Plato, on Freud's own discoveries about love, on Freud's own loves, and on love and genitality, homosexuality, the transference, and a multitude of other connections and interdigitations of love and human psychology.

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