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Reis, B. (2018). Mingling and Stretching: Revisiting Arlow's “Fantasy, Memory, and Reality Testing”. Psychoanal Q., 87(1):159-170.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 87(1):159-170

Mingling and Stretching: Revisiting Arlow's “Fantasy, Memory, and Reality Testing”

Bruce Reis

Perhaps the first thing to notice when reading Arlow's (1969) classic paper “Fantasy, Memory and Reality Testing” is the lack of subject headings. Arlow does not devote a section to fantasy, a section to memory, and a section to reality testing; and his not doing so proves integral to understanding his approach to these topics. And, even though Arlow did not add the word perception to the other terms in the title of his paper, it is as much a focus of the piece as any of the others—and it doesn't get its own subject heading either. For Arlow does not write about fantasy without also writing about perception, about perception without also writing about memory, or about memory without also writing about reality testing. For Arlow, these terms are very clearly interimplicated and cannot be considered by themselves. The term he uses repeatedly throughout the paper to describe these relations is “mingling” or “intermingling,” such as in his understanding of screen memories “as an exquisite example of the mingling of fantasy with perception and memory” (p. 38).


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