Psychology and the Soul: A Study of the Origin, Conceptual Evolution, and Nature of the Soul

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In his last years, Otto Rank turned his lifetime of thought and learning toward two of the most difficult topics in human history: religion and the soul. The result was this now-classic work, available in this new, very accessible English translation. Unlike many other intellectuals of the twentieth century, Rank maintains a place for the soul rather than dismissing it as a fantasy. The soul and the beliefs about it, he argues, set forth the foundation for psychology, with its complex analyses of consciousness, ...

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Overview

In his last years, Otto Rank turned his lifetime of thought and learning toward two of the most difficult topics in human history: religion and the soul. The result was this now-classic work, available in this new, very accessible English translation. Unlike many other intellectuals of the twentieth century, Rank maintains a place for the soul rather than dismissing it as a fantasy. The soul and the beliefs about it, he argues, set forth the foundation for psychology, with its complex analyses of consciousness, self-consciousness, and personality. Rank's commentary is not limited to beliefs about individual souls but includes ideas about group souls, sometimes encompassing nations or generations. Rank suggests that it is in expression of group beliefs that the idea of the soul attains its greatest power.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Religious Studies Review
Recommended, both as a fascinating and little-known document in the history of psychology and as a provocative reading of the history of psychology.
Psychiatric Times
Will interest many students of the history of psychoanalysis... Rank's conclusions contribute to present-day controversies about the status of psychoanalysis as a science.
Wilson Quarterly
The first complete English translation of a work that Rank published in 1930. It draws on anthropology, sociology, mythology, religion, philosophy, history, and literature to chart the development of the human psyche... The book's antimaterialistic passion makes it a compelling counterpoint to the stern biology of our own age, and the bounds it sets to what psychoanalysis can claim are justly drawn.
Psychoanalysis and History
Unquestionably Rank's most important work... This new translation is an effort to create a Rank for our millennium... [and it] reads elegantly and comfortably in English... The argument is complex and intricate, consisting of a long historical/ethnographic sweep that takes us from a 'primitive' state, via animism through the Christian or sexual era to the scientific era and modern development of psychology... Along the way we find traces of many of Rank's other brilliant psychological surveys—the double, Don Juan, heroes' birth myths, the theme of incest—woven into this massive canvas and viewed on the largest scale... Throughout this book, the grand tapestry is set with some remarkable gems of observation.

— Naomi Segal

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society
This is the first complete translation of Otto Rank's fascinating text on the nature and history of the concept of the Soul and Will in the psychological history of humankind... a tour de force in vigour, scope and application to many contemporary issues such as sexual behaviors, the nature of dreaming, incest prohibitions and narcissism, to name but a few.

— L.R. Edgar

Psychoanalysis and History - Naomi Segal
Unquestionably Rank's most important work... This new translation is an effort to create a Rank for our millennium... [and it] reads elegantly and comfortably in English... The argument is complex and intricate, consisting of a long historical/ethnographic sweep that takes us from a 'primitive' state, via animism through the Christian or sexual era to the scientific era and modern development of psychology... Along the way we find traces of many of Rank's other brilliant psychological surveys—the double, Don Juan, heroes' birth myths, the theme of incest—woven into this massive canvas and viewed on the largest scale... Throughout this book, the grand tapestry is set with some remarkable gems of observation.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society - L.R. Edgar
This is the first complete translation of Otto Rank's fascinating text on the nature and history of the concept of the Soul and Will in the psychological history of humankind... a tour de force in vigour, scope and application to many contemporary issues such as sexual behaviors, the nature of dreaming, incest prohibitions and narcissism, to name but a few.
The Psychiatrist - Adam Polnay
An accessible primary source on the history of psychoanalysis. In places it is gripping, sparing nothing, bringing readers rights into the sideshows that can go unseen behind the main event.
Booknews
Originally published as (1930). This translation of one of Rank's lesser-known works conveys his twilight-year philosophical musings on the soul and religious beliefs about it<-->which he deemed the foundation for psychoanalytic psychology's realm of consciousness ("the last seat of the soul"), sexuality, dreams, personality, and will. The translator's introduction provides some context. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801872372
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 7/9/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Otto Rank (1884-1939) was one of the most important students of Freud, especially famous for winning Freud's admiration, then for striking out independently. Among his most enduring works are Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development; Beyond Psychology; The Double; The Myth of the Birth of the Hero; The Trauma of Birth; and The Incest Theme in Literature and Legend, the last is also available from Johns Hopkins. Gregory C. Richter is an associate professor of foreign language at Truman State University. E. James Lieberman is a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Translator's Introduction
Introduction: Self-knowledge and Human Nature 1
1 Soul-Belief and Religion 11
2 The Sexual Era and Psychology 24
3 Individualism and Collectivism 50
4 Dream and Reality 64
5 Soul and Will 95
6 Nature and Spirit 111
Bibliography 129
Index 137
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