As a psychoanalytic pioneer, Karen Horney questioned some of Freud's formulations of psychosexual development, particularly in relation to women. In this collection of papers, many previously unavailable in English, she brings to the subject of femininity her acute clinical observations and a rigorous testing of both her own hypotheses and those formulated by Freud. The topics she discusses include frigidity, the problem of the monogamous ideal, maternal conflicts, the distrust between the sexes, feminine masochism, and the neurotic need for love. Throughout the book, Dr. Horney draws on her experience as a therapist and at the same time consistently evaluates psychological factors within the context of cultural forces.
Karen Horney, when she sat at Freud's feet in Vienna, was thirty years his Junior, and a woman. She rose to lead as well as follow, taking issue with Freud in important instances. She herself felt that he was a pessimist, she an optimist, and it is her "growth-oriented, life affirming, freedom-seeking philosophy" as expressed in her probing of the feminine psyche that editor Harold Kelman, M.D., comments upon here. Following his introduction are early papers from Dr. Horney on such subjects as "The Flight from Womanhood," "The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal," "The Dread of Woman," "Distrust between the Sexes," "Premenstrual Tensions," "Female Masochism." Horney counters Freud's dominant male orientation with its assumption of penis-envy and the desire to be a man with motherhood and its joys, of which he never takes account. (She attributes the desire to take the masculine role as a flight from the love of the father.) This is reading at a professional level of interest and expression, which will be of interest to the prepared lay reader es well. (Kirkus Reviews)