Freud: A Life for Our Time

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Enter the world of Sigmund Freud: his family, his city, his professional struggles, his long, fruitful and embattled life. We see him at work in times of declining liberalism, devastating war, uneasy peace, the rise of Hitler and the fall of Austria. We watch him devising and revising his epoch-making theories, struggling toward his discoveries, quarreling with his disciples.

But the book is more than biography. The ...

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Overview

Part Two Of Two Parts

Enter the world of Sigmund Freud: his family, his city, his professional struggles, his long, fruitful and embattled life. We see him at work in times of declining liberalism, devastating war, uneasy peace, the rise of Hitler and the fall of Austria. We watch him devising and revising his epoch-making theories, struggling toward his discoveries, quarreling with his disciples.

But the book is more than biography. The author's explanations of Freud's theories of dreams and sexuality, development and neurosis, love and hate are a brilliant review of pschoanalytic thought.

Freud emerges whole--student, physician, psychologist, lover, husband, father, Jew, victim and victor. As W.H. Auden said of him, he is "...no more a person now but a whole climate of opinion."

"...a critically acclaimed biography of the controversial Freud...based on years of research and hundreds of Freud's personal writings -- many unknown and unaccessable until now."

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
[A] remarkable biography . . . briskly traces the story of Freud's life and education, deftly weaving the familiar narrative with a style that makes it seem fresh and lively.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gay's engrossing portrait of Freud is unconventional, at times startling. We see how a doting, domineering mother equipped young Sigmund for a life of intrepid investigation. We follow the ambitious medical student's long, sexually starved courtship of Martha Bernays, a romance that, according to Gay, influenced his theories about the sexual roots of mental ailments. Freud continually analyzed his own unresolved conflicts, blaming his fainting spells on unconscious homosexual urges. Though he preached that the psychoanalyst should be detached during therapy sessions, he bent and even broke his own rules, returning fees to patients who fell on hard times and making friends with his favorite analysands. Perhaps no biographer has succeeded as well as Gay in linking Freud's life to his writings and his times. In this magisterial biography by the eminent cultural historian (The Bourgeois Experience, etc.), Freud's greatness and his flaws flow out of the same stubborn, obsessive quest for truth. Photos not seen by PW. (April)
Library Journal
This simply wonderful book will take its place among the definitive biographies of Freud. The author, an historian and superb writer with psychoanalytical training, has written extensively on Freud and the era in which he worked. While clearly partial to Freud, Gay gives a far more balanced and at times critical account of his life than Ernest Jones's very orthodox The Life & Work of Sigmund Freud and hence will provide a far more valuable refutation of works hostile to Freud. Outstanding features include the in-depth, lucid discussion of Freud's major works and masterful evocation of the epoch that ended in the terror of Nazi-occupied Vienna. Accessible and entertaining as well as comprehensive and technically rigorous; a great addition to the field. Paul Hymowitz, Cornell Medical Ctr., New York
Jonathan Sharp
Brilliant... a dazzling performance... Gay's ability to integrate into a coherent whole the vast published and unpublished literature on Freud - including hundreds of previously unknown or inaccessible letters - is awesome... a work of art.
San Francisco Examiner Chronicle
Michael Skube
Peter Gay's elegant new biography puts Freud's life into the context of his time while attempting to explain him for readers who cannot escape his shadow. In Gay's hands, the Olympian figure is almost within mortal reach.
Raleigh News and Observer
News and Observer
Elegant . . . puts Freud’s life into the context of his time while attempting to explain him for readers who cannot escape his shadow. In Gay’s hands, the Olympian figure is almost within mortal reach.— Michael Skube
San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle
Brilliant. . . . A dazzling performance. . . . Gay’s ability to integrate into a coherent whole the vast published and unpublished literature on Freud—including hundreds of previously unknown or inaccessible letters—is awesome. . . . A work of art.— Jonathan Sharp
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
“Intelligent and wholly absorbing. . . . Judicious, original biography, scrupulously grounded in close readings of [Freud’s] work.”
J Anthony Lukas
“A magisterial contribution to the history of ideas. A fresh, illuminating perspective on one of the pivotal figures of our time.”
Michael Skube - News and Observer
“Elegant . . . puts Freud’s life into the context of his time while attempting to explain him for readers who cannot escape his shadow. In Gay’s hands, the Olympian figure is almost within mortal reach.”
Jonathan Sharp - San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle
“Brilliant. . . . A dazzling performance. . . . Gay’s ability to integrate into a coherent whole the vast published and unpublished literature on Freud—including hundreds of previously unknown or inaccessible letters—is awesome. . . . A work of art.”
New York Times
Intelligent and wholly absorbing. . . . Judicious, original biography, scrupulously grounded in close readings of [Freud’s] work.— Michiko Kakutani
Chicago Tribune
“Remarkable . . . briskly traces the story of Freud’s life and education, deftly weaving the familiar narrative with a style that makes it seem fresh and lively.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393318265
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 810
  • Lexile: 1230L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Gay is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time. He lives in New York City.

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