Sublimation

Inquiries into Theoretical Psychoanalysis

Hans W. Loewald, M.D.

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December 14, 1988
104 pages, 5 1/8 x 8 1/4
ISBN: 9780300116458
Paper

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In psychoanalytic theory, sublimation—the process of expressing instinctual impulses in constructive, socially acceptable forms—is a central, yet poorly understood psychic process. The eminent psychoanalyst Hans W. Loewald here offers a provocative new examination of sublimation.
After reviewing the writings of Freud, Fenichel, Hartmann, Winnicott, and Kris on sublimation, Dr. Loewald presents his own ideas.  In his attempt to disentangle sublimation from other concepts with which it is often confused, he examines it within three contexts: as reconciliation, as defense, and as symbolic expression. He establishes a strong case for the undifferentiated quality of early life—a time of unselfconscious unity prior to awareness of self or other. Sublimation, according to Dr. Loewald, is an act of instinctual expression derived from this early pre-differentiated period.
Dr. Loewald’s inquiry leads to a reexamination and revision of basic psychoanalytic theory relating to instincts, symbolism, motivation, ego development, and various emotional processes.
“This is a new and highly thought-provoking approach to an understanding of the phenomena of sublimation.”—A. Scott Dowling, M.D., Case Western Reserve University
“This book is not only a profound consideration of the nature of sublimation—a subject of excruciating importance for humans—it is a summarizing statement encompassing the whole work of a great psychoanalyst.”—Vann Spruiell, M.D., Tulane University

"This is a new and highly thought-provoking approach to an understanding of the phenomena of sublimation."—A. Scott Dowling, M.D., Case Western Reserve University

"This is a new and highly thought-provoking approach to an understanding of the phenomena of sublimation."—A. Scott Dowling, M.D., Case Western Reserve University