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Wyman, H.M. (1994). Remembering the Personal Past. Descriptions of Autobiographical Memory: By Bruce M. Ross. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. 244 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 63:363-367.
(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:363-367
Remembering the Personal Past. Descriptions of Autobiographical Memory: By Bruce M. Ross. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. 244 pp.
Review by: Herbert M. Wyman
Bruce M. Ross, Professor of Psychology and Fellow of the Life Cycle Institute of Catholic University, has enhanced both his own stature and that of the Life Cycle Institute with this scholarly tour de force. Within the space of 244 pages he has managed to include a complete survey, both encyclopedic and critical, of the major contributions to the study of human memory (with special reference to autobiographical memory). The survey ranges in time from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and in latitude of discipline from the early philosophers of memory to the modern sociologists, historians, and anthropologists. Included, of course, are searching summaries of contributions from the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis.
Ordinarily such a work, which is of the nature of a critical encyclopedia, would not merit such high praise, nor any particular comment from a psychoanalytic reviewer, other than a brief notice of its publication and content. But this book is of special interest to psychoanalysts for two reasons, one parochial, the other ecumenical.
So far as this reviewer is aware, this is the first volume in recent memory, concerning itself with a topic in general psychology, that devotes the bulk of its pages to an exposition of the relevant contribution of psychoanalysis. For, after two introductory chapters, which set out the purpose of the book and survey in depth the nonpsychoanalytic students of memory (e.g., William James, Titchener, Piaget), Ross devotes nearly half of his volume (pp.
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