WHY FREUD FAINTED by Samuel Rosenberg


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Not until the very end of this unconscious-mind boggle do you find out exactly why-according to the puckishly persuasive Rosenberg (Naked Is the Best Disguise)--Sigmund Freud fainted in 1909 and 1912 ""in the presence of Carl Jung."" (No, it wasn't just a reaction to the trauma of being challenged by his beloved protege.) To understand Rosenberg's reasoning on the fainting business, you first have to follow his walking tour through Vienna and his talking tour through the labyrinth of ""Freud's unceasing need to restage certain scenes from mythology with himself in a leading role."" In and around Freud's own dream analyses and episodes in Freud's life, Rosenberg traces identifications not just with famous Oedipus but also with Hercules, Philoctetes, Medusa, and Melusina. And from history--the Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, Moses, and Joshua. Also characters in Poe, Shakespeare, Melville, and Ibsen (Hedda Gabler!). ""Taught by Freud and Sherlock Holmes to accept nothing at face value,"" Rosenberg cross-indexes and pulls at each association till it produces a ""psychopun"" or a symbol (usually phallic). ""All this may seem confusing to some,"" but for others it may seem a reductio ad absurdum teetering on the edge of parody, often sent over the edge by one of Rosenberg's cutesies (in one dream, ""Freud washed away heaps of poo-poo with his mighty stream of pee-pee""). And his frequent failure to provide the original German when discussing puns and nuances does not generate total trust. So, by the time that the erudite and clever Mr. Rosenberg gets around to those fainting spells--a complex matter of the Freud-Jung-Karl Abraham triangle and some repressed homosexual feelings (no big news)--he may have lost most of his traveling companions, yes even ""collector-consumers of Freudian delisextessen.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1978
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill