Freud: A Life for Our Time

Freud: A Life for Our Time

Peter Gay

Language: English

Pages: 864

ISBN: 0393328619

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Norton celebrates the 150th anniversary of Freud’s birth by reissuing Peter Gay’s best-selling biography, featuring a new introduction.

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this combination has aroused. Like a dream, his poem or novel is a mixed creature of the present and the past, and of external no less than internal impulsions. Freud did not deny the imagination a share in the making of literary works, but saw these works principally as reality refashioned, beautifully distorted. He was no romantic celebrating the artist as the nearly divine maker; his reluctance to acknowledge the purely creative aspects of the writer’s and painter’s work is palpable. Freud’s

rather, principally indebted to the cloudy speculations of the romantics or to Jewish mysticism? Was he as isolated in the medical establishment of his time as he liked to complain? Was his oft-declared detestation of Vienna actually a pose, in fact the most Viennese trait in him, or an authentic distaste? Is it true that his academic preferment was slowed down because he was a Jew, or is this a legend spawned by the kind of overly sensitive grievance collectors who profess to detect

toward the arts, from which I have learned a good deal, is Jack J. Spector’s precise and perceptive The Aesthetics of Freud: A Study in Psychoanalysis and Art (1972). See also Harry Trosman, Freud and the Imaginative World (1985), esp. part 11. Among earlier art critics dealing with Freud, the most interesting is probably Roger Fry, who, in The Artist and Psycho-Analysis (1924) criticized Freud for unduly minimizing the aesthetic pleasure residing in the formal aspects of art—a criticism to which

friend: he should not have urged Fliess to perform an operation in a foreign city, where he could not follow up. “You did it as well as one can.” The accident with the gauze was one “that happens to the luckiest and most circumspect of surgeons.” This was the kind of defensive excuse that Freud the psychoanalyst would soon call denial. But not yet. He cited another specialist as confessing that it had once happened to him, and added reassuringly, “Naturally no one is reproaching you.” Actually,

boys, too, as Freud knew, were not safe from them. In 1895, while his confidence in this theory was at its peak, he told Fliess that one of his neurotic patients “has given me the expected: (sexual fright, i.e., infantile abuse with male hysteria!).” (Freud to Fliess, November 2, 1895. Freud-Fliess, 153 [149].) †Freud embodied his perception of complexity in the concept of “overdetermination,” a term he first advanced in 1895: symptoms or dreams or other products of the unconscious mind are

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