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MEETING FREUD'S FAMILY by Paul Roazen

MEETING FREUD'S FAMILY

By Paul Roazen

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-87023-873-6

 Roazen (Political Science/York University, Toronto)--having written about Freud, his disciples, his adversaries, and his position in intellectual history (Freud and His Followers, 1974, etc.)--now reminisces about his experiences preparing for these studies, his interviews with Freud's relatives and associates, and their quarrels with each other and with him. Roazen claims repeatedly that when, in 1964, he earned his Ph.D., his interest in Freud was considered professionally damaging. Nonetheless, he pursued his goal to place Freud in the history of Western thought and, at the same time, to demythologize him. To re-create Freud's world, Roazen interviewed more than 60 people, the relatives as well as disciples who made up Freud's extended family. They ranged from Helena Deutsch (whose biography Roazen wrote) to Anna Freud--who considered the author a ``menace'' because he revealed her ``irregular'' analysis by her father, and who, in turn, Roazen condemned for her ``hanky-panky'' with Freud's correspondence, correcting, erasing, and suppressing it. In place of ``unrealistic idealizations'' of Freud, the author offered the tangential: Freud's cigar-smoking, his punctuality, manners, dress, dinner-table habits, neglect of his children and inability to communicate with them. Roazen repeats himself often here--in his complaints about Anna Freud; in his crowing about risking his career over Freud; and in his resentment of Freud's daughter-in- law, Henny Freud, whose intrusion during an interview with her husband, Freud's son, Roazen considered ``irksome,'' as well as inhibiting to the son--a man considered so boring and obsessive even by Freud himself that the psychiatrist had him analyzed, unsuccessfully. A haphazard personal memoir that recapitulates Roazen's earlier work, evens some scores, and offers trivial scraps about the Freud museum, Anna's dogs, and Melanie Klein's relations with her daughter. (Fifteen illustrations)