Jacob Arlow was a unique and legendary figure in the International and North American psychoanalytic communities in the second half of the twentieth century. Esteemed as a teacher, investigator, scholar and clinician, he served as editor of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly from 1972 to 1979.
He was a leader in the field for many years, had one of the finest minds in the areas of theoretical and clinical aspects of psychoanalysis, and was revered as a teacher and supervisor. He was the author of many original psychoanalytic articles and two books. One was a work of history entitled The Legacy of Sigmund Freud. The other, of which Dr. Arlow was a co-author, was entitled Psychoanalytic Concepts and the Structural Theory. His writings demonstrate a rare breadth of knowledge, and he was not been static in his thinking. Rather he developed as psychoanalysis continued to develop.
Among his many contributions, Dr. Arlow advanced the view that sensory perception is a complex phenomenon influenced by both by external sensations and by coexisting inner unconscious wishes and fears. He made important contributions to the understanding of empathy, to the role of the experience of déjà vu, and to the significance of psychoanalytic understanding of the psychology of art, literature and religion. However, he is best known for the demonstration of the part played by unconscious fantasies in the genesis of the neurotic symptoms and characterological abnormalities that every psychotherapist attempts to identify and correct.