Form and Content

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

A collection of fifteen essays written by Karen Horney between 1922 and 1936, Feminine Psychology presents groundbreaking material for the study of women as intellectual entities in their own right, rather than theories based on women’s supposed disappointment in not being born male. Initially intended as refutations of much of Sigmund Freud’s theoretical construction for psychoanalysis, the essays included are representative of Horney’s early work and teaching in the area of psychotherapy. The volume is not a comprehensive compilation of all of her essays written during this time period or on this subject. Rather, it is meant to encompass the breadth of Horney’s ideas. The book was edited by Harold Kelman, a disciple of Horney and one of the psychoanalysts who, with her, founded the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis and later became its president.

The essays in Feminine Psychology follow a roughly chronological order (“roughly” because dates of presentation and dates of publication often overlap). They span a period of Horney’s life which included the collapse of her marriage and her emigration with the youngest of her three daughters to the United States. These personal upheavals are reflected in such essays as “The Problems of Marriage,” “Maternal Conflicts,” and “The Distrust Between the Sexes.”

Most of the essays included in this work were presented as scholarly papers at...

(The entire section is 577 words.)