An intriguing excavation that reveals Freud’s deep interest in archaeology, his distaste for modern art and his acquisitive...

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THE SPHINX ON THE TABLE

SIGMUND FREUD’S ART COLLECTION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PSYCHOANALYSIS

On the 150th anniversary of his birth comes a fresh look at the founder of psychoanalysis as a dedicated collector of antiquities.

Australian art historian and biographer Burke tackles her subject chronologically, introducing Freud (1856–1939) as a three-year-old acquiring the childhood memories on which, she says, he “built the entire edifice of psychoanalysis” and concluding with his funeral in London. Exposed to the glories of art in Paris during the 1880s, when he studied under neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, he did not become a collector until he was 40, inspired by a visit to Florence in 1896. Over the next four decades, Freud acquired more than 2,000 statues, vases, reliefs, busts, fragments of papyrus, rings, precious stones and prints, which he arranged in a crowded display in his study. He also collected Greek and Roman works, but he had a special passion for the Egyptians. Burke contends that Freud began acquiring Egyptian tomb art while mourning the death of his father and that psychoanalysis and art-collecting developed together, each nourishing the other. Writing during an era of great archaeological discoveries, Freud compared the work of the archaeologist to that of the psychoanalyst, who must uncover layer after layer of dreams and memories before reaching the deepest, most valuable treasures. The author pays particular attention to Oedipus, with whom, she says, Freud identified as a man of destiny, and to the Sphinx, that symbol of troublesome femininity. Burke recounts how Freud’s formulation of the Oedipus complex eliminated the Sphinx (present in the original myth) and argues that his creativity was not scientific but was inspired by the myths and heroic legends of his childhood. Whatever one makes of this analysis, the author has created a rich portrait of Freud’s life in Vienna and his purchasing travels to Italy and Greece.

An intriguing excavation that reveals Freud’s deep interest in archaeology, his distaste for modern art and his acquisitive nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-8027-1503-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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