Emily's Reviews > Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History
Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History
by Erik H. Erikson
by Erik H. Erikson
Summer reading circa 1986 for my high school's 11th grade "AOM" class. AOM stood for "Ages of Man", a subject which anywhere else would have been known as "history". My alma mater was a girls' school in Virginia founded in the 1920s, and the name of the class was one of the things that hadn't changed in the intervening 60 years. However, whatever the name, the history classes for juniors and seniors were taught by a man with a doctorate who believed in intellectual rigor for girls, and how. There were at least three academically weighty books we had to read that summer (the only other one I can remember was The World We Have Lost: Further Explored). What a chore it was, to get through this, but I slogged through it grimply (by which I mean grimly of course, but I like the typo -- intellectually I was limping) feeling like I had to prove it to myself and everyone else that I belonged in the Advanced Placement course. I had been let in on sufferance, and was overjoyed to join the company of my new friends -- I had only then learned to embrace being on the fringes -- who were both gloriously unconventional and academically successful. I remember the book as a dense and depressing morass, and reading about it now and seeing that it was written, in 1951, by a psychoanalyst rather than a historian, I wonder if there actually was anything of value in it. It made for a good joking reference among my friends though. We would occasionally ponder it, hand on chin, stern expression of concentration on the face, when we wanted to show each other what deep thinkers we were, so it wasn't a total loss. I got through the class well enough, if not brilliantly. It was a good year, actually one of the best.
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