"FREUD: CONFLICT AND CULTURE: Essays on His Life, Work, and Legacy" by Michael S.--Ed. Roth

"FREUD: CONFLICT AND CULTURE: Essays on His Life, Work, and Legacy"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of 18 essays and one cartoon narrative (Art Spiegelman's ""Cracking Jokes"") to accompany the long-delayed Freud exhibit at the Library of Congress, which will open on October 15. Scheduled originally for two years ago, the exhibit was delayed when a number of critics (including Freud's granddaughter Sophie) protested it was too uncritical of psychoanalysis's founder. Not to worry: curator Roth, assistant director of the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art end the Humanities, wisely has added a section entitled ""Contested Legacies,"" in which a number of prominent psychoanalytic writers and practitioners dispute--and sometimes blast--some of Freud's theories and clinical methodologies. Peter Kramer (of Listening to Prozac fame) maintains that, all too often, Freud ""stretches facts on the Procrustean bed of theory"", Adolf Gruenbaum, meanwhile, using both logic and the lack of empirical evidence, strongly questions the therapeutic efficacy of free association. In general, the informed nonspecialist may find this volume frustrating at times, for this is no overview of either the life or work, and there are other such conspicuous omissions as no essay on Freud's Jewishness or on neo-Freudian thought. But there are a fair number of first-rate pieces on the ""life, work and legacy"" most notably Patrick Mahoney's ""Freud's World of Work"" and John Forrester's ""Portrait of a Dream Reader,"" Jose Brunner's ""Oedipus Politicus: Freud's Paradigm of Social Relations,"" Hannah Decker's psycho-cultural-feminist reading of the Dora case, and Edith Kurzweil's ""Freud's Reception in the United States."" As opposed to an almost equal number of overly specialized, sometimes esoteric essays, these pieces, written with stylistic gracefulness and intellectual depth, make this volume accessible and well worth the price for the nonclinician.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1998
ISBN: 0679772928
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Knopf