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Alexander, F. (1934). Review of Freud's “New Series of Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis”. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(3):336-346.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(3):336-346

Special Review

Review of Freud's “New Series of Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis”

Review by:
Franz Alexander

This New Series of Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, in contradistinction to the previous series, have never been delivered in a lecture room. Freud prefers to use the lecture form because it allows the fullest expression of his characteristics as stylist and thinker. The dynamic quality of his diction seems to demand the spoken word. His writing approaches the Platonic dialogue, in that he anticipates the reader's doubts, answers them, and proceeds in his argument to cover a steadily increasing terrain with the help of irrefutable logic and illuminating perspectives. Just as in his previous writing, he never leaves the reader in doubt when he considers his contention to be problematic, and has the courage, after thirty years of work in this field, to speak of the theory of the instinctual life as the “mythological “part of psychoanalysis.

A new book by Freud today arouses the interest, not only of specialists in this field, but of the whole intellectual world. This widespread interest, we feel, is, for Freud, not only a source of satisfaction but also a ‘burden of heavy responsibility. He feels he ought to inform people in a somewhat systematic way of the progress of the last fifteen years since the first Introductory Lectures appeared. To whom does Freud speak in this new book? We cannot help but feel that he speaks to a most heterogeneous audience, an extremely difficult task for any author.

In the first chapter, “Revision of the Theory of Dreams,” Freud proudly declares that the dream theory represents a piece of scientific accomplishment to which fifteen years of study have added little and that there are no essential features which he feels ought to be altered. The concept that the dream has the dynamical function of protecting sleep from disturbing stimuli, i.e., from the pressure of unfulfilled wishes, through their hallucinatory satisfaction, is a formulation which stands on the solid basis of accumulated observations.

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