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Rangell, L. (1994). The Secret Ring. Freud's Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis: By Phyllis Grosskurth. Reading, MA/Menlo Park, CA/New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Inc., 1991. 245 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 63:132-139.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:132-139

The Secret Ring. Freud's Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis: By Phyllis Grosskurth. Reading, MA/Menlo Park, CA/New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Inc., 1991. 245 pp.

Review by:
Leo Rangell

This is an interesting book, on a subject worth thinking about, but difficult to assess. The author, at a Congress in Toronto on the history of psychoanalysis, noted again, having observed it many times before, the passion elicited by the subject of psychoanalysis, in the service of both its defense and its condemnation. Being at that time in the process of writing a book about a secret "Rundbriefe" circulated among a small inner circle around Freud, just after the defection and/or ouster of Jung from the psychoanalytic movement, in defense of the new science, the author felt that the tone and contents of this private correspondence might throw light on precisely this question of psychoanalysis as a disturber of peace and divider of people. This then became a leit (or heavy) motif of this book.

The author's aim thus came to have a double purpose: to trace the vicissitudes and meanings of this intimate exchange, and to throw light from it on the affective reactions of the world to psychoanalysis. While this two-pronged self-assignment added a double depth and purpose to the enterprise, it also constitutes an added difficulty to its goal and methodology. Each of the investigative pursuits is complex in itself; to interrelate the two creates a more formidable challenge.

The

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