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Robinson, J.S. (1996). The Harvard Lectures. By Anna Freud. Edited and annotated by Joseph Sandler. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1992. 142 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 65:649-652.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:649-652

The Harvard Lectures. By Anna Freud. Edited and annotated by Joseph Sandler. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1992. 142 pp.

Review by:
James S. Robinson

Few analysts lecture to general audiences, and many would regard psychoanalytic theory as incomprehensible to the unanalyzed. The general reader's quest for authoritative introductions leads from the expository writings of Freud to the scholarly reviews of Waelder and Brenner—regrettably not much further.

Yet now from a mere 130 pages there emanates the clear voice of a teacher, practitioner, researcher, and theoretician who troubles herself to articulate for a group of undergraduates the whys and wherefores of psychoanalytic theory. Much of it can be validated in their own observations of children and applied to parenting they themselves might undertake. Nor does our teacher dilute its essences: the infantile sexual and aggressive drives, the realities that modify them, the forces that obscure them, and the discovery that illuminated them.

Through the efforts of Joseph Sandler and his colleagues we are given a vivid first-hand presentation of the voice of Anna Freud addressing two hundred Harvard and Radcliffe students in 1952. The accompanying research consultations and advanced faculty seminars have not been preserved.

The first 87 pages (almost six of the nine lectures) describe the human personality to age five. On arriving at this point, we have learned of the motivational forces of the body/mind, our resistance to their recognition, the pleasure-pain principle, the integrated conscious personality, the primary process, and the dynamic unconscious (lecture one).

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