FREUD'S WOMEN by Lisa Appignanesi


Family, Patients, Followers
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 In an imaginative, insightful, learned collaboration, novelist Appignanesi (Memory and Desire, 1991) and historian of science Forrester (Cambridge Univ.) present Freud's female relatives, patients, friends, disciples, and colleagues; their contributions to his work; and their actual and symbolic roles in his life. Although little is known of Freud's family life (the information still carefully guarded in the Freud Archives), the psychoanalytic ``family,'' tied by powerful ``transferential bonds,'' is well documented but often misunderstood. It is in dispelling some of the myths about Freud's work (particularly about castration anxiety and penis envy), about the women he encountered and his attitude toward them and toward the feminine in general (e.g., his reputed misogyny) that this book is most successful. In spite of the patronizing title, the women themselves are represented with their own character and integrity intact. All of them--patients such as ``Dora,'' disciples such as daughter Anna Freud, friends such as Lou Andreas-SalomÇ--were creative allies in Freud's work, guides and mediators carrying his ideas, theories, even his mistakes into new territories with their writings and their organizations: Marie Bonaparte in France, Alix Strachey in England, Ruth Mack Brunswick and Muriel Gardner in America. As for Freud himself, the ``demonized'' and the ``idealized'' psychiatrist are replaced here with a humanized male figure, with all his insecurity revealed--especially through the King Lear analogy that appears throughout the text. To those familiar with Freud: a fresh and perhaps controversial interpretation, as well as a tribute to the women who helped create him. For others: an absorbing if somewhat biased introduction to the canon and archetypes that helped shape modern ideas about human development and sexuality.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1993
ISBN: 0-465-02563-3
Page count: 588pp
Publisher: Basic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992


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