Fantasy and Reality in History / Edition 1

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In Fantasy and Reality in History, Peter Loewenberg 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.
First examining early twentieth century Zürich and the first practitioners of psychoanalysis—Freud, C.G. Jung, Karl Abraham, and others—to establish the discipline's understanding of the unconscious and how it functions, Loewenberg then explores the tensions in the lives and politics of modern political leaders. The great British Liberal Prime Minister Walther Rathenau, and the Russian fascist demagogue Vladimir Zhirinovsky are among those studied.
In each of these interconnected essays, Fantasy and Reality in History makes readily evident the advantages, and unique insights, that psychoanalytical techniques can provide in the examination of history. Loewenberg's blend of clinical and historico-political methods not only produces new exciting research, but demonstrates how it is done.

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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195067637
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

On Psychohistorical Method 3
1 Why Social Science Needs Psychoanalysis: From Weber to Freud 9
2 The Pagan Freud 16
3 Sigmund Freud's Psychosocial Identity 33
4 The Creation of a Scientific Community: The Burgholzli, 1902-1914 46
5 Gladstone, Sin, and the Bulgarian Horrors 93
6 The Murder and Mythification of Walther Rathenau 108
7 Karl Renner and the Politics of Accommodation: Moderation versus Revenge 119
8 The Inner World of Vladimir Zhirinovsky: The Self-Presentation of a "Hero" 142
9 Anxiety in History 155
10 Racism in Comparative Historical Perspective 172
11 The Psychodynamics of Nationalism 192
12 Crisis Management: From Therapy to Government and from the Oval Office to the Couch 217
Index 225
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