DEPRESSION AND MASOCHISM: An Account of Mechanisms by Nathan Leites

DEPRESSION AND MASOCHISM: An Account of Mechanisms

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Leites provides a comprehensive and detailed listing of many ways in which depression and/or masochism may be manifest: Warding Off Grandiosity; Eschewing Harmful Success; Vanquishing the Victor; Expiating Guilt. In the case of each of the 29 mechanisms, or patterns, described, the text is primarily a compilation of quotations drawn from classic (Freud, Deutsch) and current (Jacobson, Ostow) psychoanalytic sources. Leites does not provide an introduction to set the material in context and no summary is offered to integrate it. He assumes that the reader is capable of deciding whether the mechanism cited refers to one or both of the topics in question. An abstruse writing style ("". . . consciously acceptable success unconsciously signifies a gratification arousing anxiety and guilt. . ."") and an uncompromisingly psychoanalytic orientation make this work appropriate only for specialists. The idea of putting these two content-areas together on a point-by-point basis is a good one, and Leites--a former Rand Corporation psychological researcher--provides a useful compendium of sources. However, the book lacks those descriptive insights which would enable the lay reader to follow its logic and emerge with a coherent whole.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1979
ISBN: 1445525224
Publisher: Norton