Lear's book is a continuation of Freud's "metapsychology," offering new ways to conceptualize some of what happens in psychoanalysis. His starting point is one which would seem obvious but is in fact rare in psychoanalytic writings (something which he comments on), namely, to "psychoanalyze" certain trends in psychoanalytic writing, that is, to speculate on the hidden motives, avoidances, and self-deceptions these trends might be covering. In doing so, he offers some brilliant insights, especially about subjectivity vs. "objectivity" and about transference. But Lear's book is an "easy read" because the writing is loose and casual. I found the scene-setting and run-up to his intellectual climaxes both rushed and drawn-out, the way you come to inspired thoughts during an all-nighter just before deadline, and afterwards you wish you had had the time to organize your whole essay around them from the start. Lear addresses himself very explicitly to the community of psychoanalysts (which at moments can be offputting to the uninitiated), and while his style is a refreshing change from the professional, impersonal prose of most analytic monographs, he also seems to address his peers as though they were laypersons. Furthermore, most of the book is organized as a commentary on a very influential essay by Hans Loewald, but by the end Loewald has disappeared, replaced by Heidegger and Kierkegaard. (Furthermore, Lear lets us know that he had weekly conversations--not, apparently, an analysis--with Loewald for several years, but never shares anything from those conversations with the reader. Very exasperating, and not just for Loewald fans.) I know I've spent more time in this review on the style than the substance, but as Lear asserts more than once in his book, the how of what is said is often more important than the what. I'll leave it to Lear to put his style on the couch. I'm inclined to excuse him: he's a practising analyst as well as a philosophy professor; he can't very well take a six- or twelve-month sabatical at a humanities center to make this the book it could have been. And that's a pity.