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Skues, R. (2018). Psychoanalytic Filiations: Mapping the Psychoanalytic Movement. By Ernst Falzeder. London: Karnac Books, 2015, 416 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 105(2):249-253.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Review, 105(2):249-253

Psychoanalytic Filiations: Mapping the Psychoanalytic Movement. By Ernst Falzeder. London: Karnac Books, 2015, 416 pp.

Review by:
Richard Skues, Ph.D.

This book is essential reading for all those who profess an interest in the early history of psychoanalysis. It is a work with just two principal faults: it is long overdue and it consists of only one volume. The first fault is mitigated to a certain extent by the fact that the book is a collection of essays that have appeared before, over a period of more than twenty years, so a diligent researcher need not have waited quite this long to read them. But by publishing them together in a single volume, with some translated for the first time from German, the editors of the History of Psychoanalysis Series have rendered a notable service.

Ernst Falzeder will be well known even to those with only a passing acquaintance with serious scholarship in the history of psychoanalysis as an editor of Freud's correspondence with two of his leading followers, Sándor Ferenczi and Karl Abraham, two projects clearly reflected in this present volume. But this immense editorial work as midwife to the writings of others is just the tip of the iceberg of a vast quantity of other material published in journals over the years, where Falzeder's status as one of the preeminent Freud scholars of today is securely established.

Although the fifteen essays have a loose theoretical grouping, their original publication as separate articles means that they can be read in any order. Falzeder's knowledge and mastery of the primary and secondary literature is formidable and this, coupled with the richness of the content, the range of sources discussed, the incisiveness of the insights, and the depth of knowledge underpinning it all makes it a book that can either be read straight through from cover to cover or dipped into and savored an essay at a time.

As the subtitle suggests, the main focus of the collection is on the so-called “psychoanalytic movement.” For the most part this spans the period from the point at which psychoanalysis broke out into the world beyond Vienna by way of the Burghölzli in Zurich round about 1904-1905, through to its secure establishment in the training institutes in the 1920s, and then the estrangements between Freud and both Abraham and Ferenczi and their deaths in 1925 and 1933, respectively.

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