THE TRIUMPH OF THE THERAPEUTIC by Philip Rieff

THE TRIUMPH OF THE THERAPEUTIC

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Many who came after Freud, trailing in his wake, sought to modify Freud's teachings. Sociologist Philip Rieff (Freud: The Mind of the Moralist) herein examines three post-Freudians whom he considers to be most significant as successorcritics of the master -- Jung, Reich, D.H. Lawrence. Jung was the conservative, or traditionalist, who stressed the theological needs within man. Reich first shifted the Freudian attack entirely from instinct to culture, concentrating on the sexual-biological side of man. Lawrence advocated a surrender to the irrational and erotic as against the cold processes of overrationalization. Rieff carefully balances his account of each successor-critic's viewpoint with his own analysis of their lacunae. In the end, Rieff's flaw-finding seems to lead the reader to sympathize more with the Founding Father than with the Dissenting Sons, for all that their dissent carries valid weight. The flight from Freud leads back, with modifications. The reader may feel that Rieff has overrationalized his discussion in limiting himself to these three men, two of whom have much in common as sanctifiers of sex. By so doing, he has failed to capture any sense of the history of the post-Freudian era, or its major trends, but has concentrated more on three separate personalities at work in the beginning of that era and, in his opinion, their importance and limitations. The door is still left open for dissent.

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 1965
Publisher: Harper & Row