This long-overdue book delivers several greatly needed essays by some of the most powerful minds shaping psychoanalysis. The essay by Joan Riviere, "Womanliness as a Masquerade" alone compels--or rather impels, for those who care about an ego syntonic purchase (awww I couldn't resist)--the buying of this book, with Joan's revolutionary descriptions of female personae and natural versus coerced, falsified constructions of feminine identity, and how those constructions relate to the castration complex (either in a healthy, sublimated way, or in a neurotic one), and other universal, psychic trends traversed by the invididual among various cultural snares, tarpits and a rare oasis or two. Assuredly were ANY of these people alive today in 21st century America, they'd wince and would not be happy with the cultural-moral treatment of female psychosexuality.
These papers show facts and theories from the 1920s which now nearly 100 years later smoke and sear as nothing less than incriminations as to how poorly mass, middle-class psychosexuality has ended-up in a land holding itself to be the most eductated and enlightened in world-history. America's prudish and predictable "moralizing" of P.analysis in which even
Freud's Darwinian concept of Drive-Theory gets junked for "PG-13" blob-slops of "Ego Psychology" and general, anti-sexual-theory-trinkets has resulted in catastrophe, as could be gleaned from by these papers and by a majority of females 18-50 manifesting little or no interest in sexual intercourse, and stubbornly high levels of sexual dysfunctionality. If the ego-psychs, femininists, PC-ers, et al, were so correct, then many of the pathologies outlined in this volume would be fading away, sociologically speaking: instead they are exploding. Oh well.
The editor is clearly a Kleinian, and sadly that bias
seeps partly into the selection of papers for this volume, but overall this proves a minor flaw, as Abraham's work on oral erotism and personality formation is in this book, and a second essay by him on the genital-level of character development, a much-needed and under-explored idea in even analysis today.
No serious student of psychoanalysis, or really anyone caring about a theory of human nature can afford to be without this book.