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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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(1916). Man—an Adaptive Mechanism. By George W. Crile. New York, The Macmillan Company. 1916. Pp. xvi + 387 Price $2.50.. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(4):476-477.

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(4):476-477

Book Reviews

Man—an Adaptive Mechanism. By George W. Crile. New York, The Macmillan Company. 1916. Pp. xvi + 387 Price $2.50.

This work is a further elaboration of the motif which was set forth in the author's “Origin and Nature of the Emotions,” and much of the material is common to the two works. Since the former work was written, however, the author has thought much and expanded and deepened his grasp of the whole scheme of man's existence, and in this later work sets it forth in a much more coherent and connected fashion—a frank mechanistic hypothesis.

This work should be of great interest to psychoanalysts and in fact to all who do not rest content with natural history descriptions but insist on seeking an answer to the ever recurring question Why? Crile's position in this respect is much like that of the psychoanalyst. For example, a post-operative case develops pneumonia. Crile actually dares to ask why, for example, there is a right-sided rather than a left-sided involvement? We may or may not agree with his answer, but we must, at least, be in sympathy with the attitude of mind that asks the question.

When Crile describes envy as a chronic form of rage: when he speaks of man as being in auto-captivity to phylogenetic tendencies: when he says of certain kinetic diseases that they “are not only modified, but frequently cured, and, in some instances, actually prevented, by circumstances of life, by states of mind,” etc., we must find ourselves in complete agreement with him. He takes the brain, and so the mind, freely into account in his kinetic systems, and so we find all through the book an emphasis placed upon the mental factors in disease that is refreshing.

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