FREUD AND AMERICA by Hendrik M. Ruitenbeek


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This is not a book about ""the man, Freud, and his travels in America"" -- though it does give some background on Freud's trip here in 1909. It is, rather, a study of how Freud's works, his ideas, were brought into the English language, spread through American culture, joined to -- or set in opposition to -- other elements of American life, how they have been distorted, diluted, vulgarized, and how they have come to affect Americans (far more, incidentally, than Europeans). The catchword system of cultural absorption is Ruitenbeek's primary target: he pleads for more meaningful popular literature and for closer scrutiny of prime sources on the part of those in professional training. He gives compact and knowledgeable definitions of the terms ""neo-Freudian,"" ""post-Freudian,"" ""revisionist,"" and ""orthodox,"" and describes the roles their representatives have played in shaping the practice and popularization of analysis and psychoanalytic theory in the U.S. His explanation of the affinities between religion and psychoanalysis is exceptionally plausible. His comments on educational theory and practice are well-timed as the nation tackles the problems of high school dropouts and college overcrowding. Informative, well but not onerously documented.

Publisher: Macmillan