Kirkus Star


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This is indeed one of the most unusual books of the season. Here is a book by a Catholic priest (a psychologist and convert from Marxism) which probably for the first time treats love so clearly and fully. And the author does this not from an abstract ""purely spiritual"" point of view, disembodied from reality, but rather from that of human love, physical and psychological at the same time. Though he has reservations about Freudian theory, depth-psychologist Father Lpp rates Freud in his field as revolutionary as Copernicus in astronomy for having restored affectivity and especially love to the essential role it plays in human life. Father Lepp's purpose in writing this book is ""to help people to love, to help them to love in a better way, and to show them how to face up to the suffering that comes from the absence of love"". To achieve his objective he analyzes the various forms of normal and abnormal love, and while he argues that ""Eros"" is not all there is to love, he does feel strongly that ""Eros"" is present as an ingredient in every form of love. Case histories are the technique he employs to illustrate his exposition. His discussion of a wide range of topics -- including platonic love, love and incest, marriage, the enemy of love, and love and aggression -- is blunt and strangely objective in tone, an achievement in itself. Surely The Psychology of Loving could be a means of uprooting the vestiges of Jansenism ingrained among many Catholics of recent derivation here in the United States. Father Lepp's ""psychosynthesis of love"" may well shock the scrupulous and others who automatically equate sex with sin regardless of its context, but it should be welcomed by all who have been heretofore ""protected"" from learning for whatever reason all there is to know about love in human life. He is fortunate in his translator.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1963
Publisher: Helicon