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von Hug-Hellmuth, H. Putnam, J.J. Stevens, M. (1918). A Study of the Mental Life of the Child. Psychoanal. Rev., 5(2):193-227.

(1918). Psychoanalytic Review, 5(2):193-227


A Study of the Mental Life of the Child

H. von Hug-Hellmuth, James J. Putnam, M.D. and Mabel Stevens, B.S.

Part II


Playtime (Die Spielzeit)

The play-period, the golden happy childhood days which poets praise as such a beautiful gift granted to each person but once, goes backward for its very beginnings into infancy itself, but expands to full sovereignty in the years before the child hears the sound of the brazen-toned word, “duty,” and becomes aware of its fetters for the first time when he enters the school-room. Playtime weaves its golden threads into the hours when school opens its doors, day after day, and a stream of boisterous child-life escapes from restraint to the sound of shouts of joy. But in the delightful period from the first to the sixth year, the very small child is in the world for nothing else and nothing better than to play from morning until night. Indeed he makes everything subservient to play—the requirements of the nursery, also those which family-life involves. And he carries his childish play-wishes with him even into his dreams, so that he may begin his next day's task in the same spirit when morning comes.

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