Fantasy and Reality in History

Fantasy and Reality in History

by Peter Loewenberg
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Fantasy and Reality in History, Peter Loewenberg, a historian, political psychologist, and psychoanalyst, brings what the discipline of psychoanalysis has learned about human conduct and the irrational to bear on the analysis and writing of history. The result is a remarkable series of studies on individual and social anxiety, racism and nationalism, and crisis…  See more details below

Overview

In Fantasy and Reality in History, Peter Loewenberg, a historian, political psychologist, and psychoanalyst, brings what the discipline of psychoanalysis has learned about human conduct and the irrational to bear on the analysis and writing of history. The result is a remarkable series of studies on individual and social anxiety, racism and nationalism, and crisis management. The first section proposes psychohistorical theoretical and clinical perspectives on Freud, psychoanalysis, social structure, and culture. Loewenberg examines creative group process in early twentieth century Zurich and how the earliest practitioners of psychoanalysis - Freud, C.G. Jung, Karl Abraham, and others - established the discipline's understanding of the unconscious and how it functions. The second section explores the tensions in the lives and politics of modern political leaders. Loewenberg offers case studies including the pornographic sexual politics of the nineteenth-century British Liberal Prime Minister William E. Gladstone, interpretations of the self-sacrifice of the German-Jewish foreign minister Walther Rathenau, the ideas of Austrian President Karl Renner at resolving nationality conflicts, and the primitive psychic splitting of the contemporary Russian fascist demagogue Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The final section interprets manifestations of anxiety in history, and its expression in racism, anti-Judaism, Nazism, and nationalism. In each study, Loewenberg blends clinical and historical-political methods which not only produce new and exciting research, but also demonstrate how a psychoanalytic approach enriches our understanding of history, and how historical and social science perspectives may inform the resolution of clinical conflicts.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One dazzling essay follows another. The essay on Gladstone sparkles with new insights. Peter Loewenberg combines, uniquely in my experience, not only the two fields of psychiatry and history but the two methodologies and the underlying assumptions. He offers it to readers in a calm, relaxed, utterly undoctrinaire tone as a way, not the way, to interpret a reality which will always be too complex for us."—Jonathan Steinberg, Reader in Modern European History, Trinity Hall Cambridge

"Fantasy and Reality in History is an outstanding, multifaceted exercise in the application of the rich variety of psychoanalytic theory to historical and political problems."—The Psychohistory Review

"A very readable and succinct introduction to basic concepts of psychohistory. The essays begin with an examination of the creation of a psychoanalytical scientific community in the historical and cultural context of early twentieth-century central Europe. They are followed by four examples of psychobiography of political figures and conclude with a searching analysis of the psychodynamics of modern racism and nationalism. Together they demonstrate the contribution which psychoanalytical methods offer to a social scientific understanding of our time."—George G. Iggers, Distinguished Professor of European Intellectual History, State University of New York at Buffalo

"...A clear, interesting, and thoughtful examination of topics ranging from the historical and cultural roots of and influences on Freud's identity to the psychodynamics of nationalism and racism, [the author] performs the rare feat of bringing together history and psychoanalysis into a productive dialogue. [The author's] approach offers fresh insights. [the book is] a work of admirable scholarship, it is a work of commendable intellectual tolerance and generosity...compelling reading."—Psychoanalytic Books

"...Remarkable breadth of research interest and depth of knowledge...Gracefully written, accessible, learned, and humane. Theoretical vantage points are important only in these terms, and Loewenberg's psychoanalysis therefore provides an effective vantage point: he asks important questions, he directs attention to crucial problems, his research is excellent, and his work is significant for others."—American Historical Review

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195361896
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/19/1995
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
558 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >