"This essay is not intended as a text book or treatise, but merely as
a summary of the work and description of methods that have been employed
recently in the study of personality,'' says the author. Beginning
with Wyclif's use of personality in 1380 the author touches upon the
evolution of the concept of "personality" as found m literature, in
theology, m philosophy, in its lately vulgarized conception as in Eleanor
Glyn 's " i t ; " ending the evolution of the concept with the psychological.
In this both objective and subjective approaches are indicated. The
author's definition of personality is as foBows: "an mtegrative combination
of all our cognitive, effective, conative, and even physical qualities."
Personality is a more inclusive term than character. The author
differentiates between temperament and character. The former he conceives
of as the sum total of or blend of one's affective qualities as they
impress others; the latter he conceives of as a part of personality which
coincides with volitional and inhibitory phases of behavior. To nse
the author's own words "character is the residue of personality after
the cognitive, affective, and physical qualities have been removed."
Passing from Jung's dichotomy of introversion and extra/version to
the Spranger and the Adlerian concepts of "patterns of life" the reader
is led on to Kretschmer 's four-fold division of personality types, namely,
(1) cerebral, (2) muscular, (3) respiratory, (4) digestive. Saudet's,
followed by Klage's conception of graphology as a method of studying
personality, is then mentioned. Three schools, the behavionstic, the
psychoanalytic, and the "constitutional" come cursorily under discussion
with regard to their views on personality.
Part I ends with a series of partial portraits of famous musicians who
illustrate what the author calls "personal idioms." Men like Mendelssohn,
Wagner, Beethoven, Chopin, etc., portray certain ways of doing
things which the author characterizes as ' ' personal idioms.''
Part II deals with the topic "Can personality be changed!" The
author takes the position that "while it is true, in a sense, that personalities
are born, it cannot be denied that there is a possibility of modification
and improvement. . . . " Insight and will to change are necessary
before change occurs. Always, however, the author claims, "the
inner personality must be modified before outward appearances assume
a different aspect."
It is an interesting little book full of hteiary figures and allusions
even if at times a bit lacking in scientific cogency. The essay ends with
lines which Shakespeare put into Cassius' mouth, as follows:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But %n ourselves that we are underlings.
These lines may or may not be comforting to some of us.