02 October 2011

Freud's Wizard

I recently received, unbidden, a catalog from Daedalus Books.  A couple of the books they are selling (both described on p. 23, in their "Self & Society" section) look at the origins of psychoanalysis.  One is called A DREAM OF UNDYING FAME.

Here's the ad copy for that one:  "In 1877, a young Sigmund Freud met an established physician named Josef Breuer and they began a collaboration that would lead to the publication of the classic work Studies on Hysteria.  Freud subsequently minimized Breuer's contributions, betraying his former mentor and benefactor.  Psychologist Louis Breger reveals the story behind the creation of Studies as well as the case of Anna O., which helped contribute to Freud's definition of 'neurosis,' showing how Freud's own self-mythologizing and history not only affected everything he did in life, but also helped shape his emerging beliefs about psychoanalysis."

The second of these books is called FREUD's WIZARD.  Here is the ad copy.

"The saturation of the English-speaking world with psychoanalytical concepts was instigated by one British analyst, Ernest Jones.  As Freud's disciple, collague, and biographer -- and the man who literally rescued Freud and his cabal from the Nazis in 1938 -- Jones led the international psychoanalytic movement, shifting its vortex from Vienna to London and spreading its influence to Toronto, New York, and Boston.  Brenda Maddox's biography reveals a brilliant and flawed analyst who both venerated and challenged his mentor, and who well understood and used his own abilities to attract women in a string of liaisons."

Both books, as you can see, focus on the mentor-protege relationship, and together they give us Freud at each side of it.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.