Freud, Race, and Gender

Overview

A Jew in a violently anti-Semitic world, Sigmund Freud was forced to cope with racism even in the "serious" medical literature of the fin de siècle, which described Jews as inherently pathological and sexually degenerate. In this provocative book, Sander L. Gilman argues that Freud's internalizing of these images of racial difference shaped the questions of psychoanalysis. Examining a variety of scientific writings, Gilman discusses the prevailing belief that male Jews were "feminized," as stated outright by Jung...

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Overview

A Jew in a violently anti-Semitic world, Sigmund Freud was forced to cope with racism even in the "serious" medical literature of the fin de siècle, which described Jews as inherently pathological and sexually degenerate. In this provocative book, Sander L. Gilman argues that Freud's internalizing of these images of racial difference shaped the questions of psychoanalysis. Examining a variety of scientific writings, Gilman discusses the prevailing belief that male Jews were "feminized," as stated outright by Jung and others, and concludes that Freud dealt with his anxiety about himself as a Jew by projecting it onto other cultural "inferiors"—such as women. Gilman's fresh view of the origins of psychoanalysis challenges those who separate Freud's revolutionary theories from his Jewish identity.

Gilman agrues that Freud dealt with his anxiety about himself as a Jew in a violently anti-Semitic world by projecting it onto other cultural "inferiors"--such as women. This fresh view of the beginnings of psychoanalysis will interest readers of history, Jewish studies, gender studies, literature, and others. Halftones.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
Freud, Race, and Gender is not . . . simply another study of Freud's multiple Jewish identities. . . . Gilman is principally interested in the unresolved tension between the rhetoric of race and the equally powerful rhetoric of science in Freud's work.
New Statesman & Society
Gilman [is] one of the most original and stimulating cultural historians of his generation.
New York Times Book Review
. . . the most convincing account of how Freud's anxiety about being Jewish is reflected in his work.
— Howard Eilberg-Schwartz
Choice
Gilman synthesizes the work of psychoanalysts, Freud biographers, literary critics, and historians to provide this impressive new reading of the meanings of 'race' and 'gender' in Freud's time. With admirable scholarship, the author tackles numerous assumptions about the manner in which Freud's Jewish male identity shaped his scientific stance in and against antisemitic culture. . . . The book also has great relevance to contemporary debates on multiculturalism.
The Village Voice Literary Supplement
[The book's] power rests in Gilman's understanding of the complex interactions and negotiations that drive the logic of bigotry and in its revelations about the deeper pathological connections between sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia.
— Maurice Berger
The New Republic
Original and penetrating . . . display[s] all the familiar hallmarks of Gilman's formidable scholarship. . . . richly erudite in the small print of medico-scientific writings of the fin-de-siecle era, showing Freud as a child of his times.
— Roy Porter
The Forward
. . . as eye-opening as it is myth exploding. . . . [Gilman's] material is often disturbing, and his conclusions are made all the more unsettling by the fact that they are utterly convincing.
The Boston Book Review
This book contains astonishing morsels of European cultural and medical history, the sort of thing you find yourself reading aloud over the breakfast table on a Sunday morning. The author has read widely in all kinds of English and German-language sources . . . and makes free use of them. His most striking examples illustrate the institutionalized racism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The degree to which anti-Semitism, especially, permeated medicine and all the biological sciences during Freud's lifetime comes as a revelation even to those who flatter themselves with some knowledge of the period.
— Rita Goldberg
The Village Voice Literary Supplement - Maurice Berger
[The book's] power rests in Gilman's understanding of the complex interactions and negotiations that drive the logic of bigotry and in its revelations about the deeper pathological connections between sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia.
The New Republic - Roy Porter
Original and penetrating . . . display[s] all the familiar hallmarks of Gilman's formidable scholarship. . . . richly erudite in the small print of medico-scientific writings of the fin-de-siecle era, showing Freud as a child of his times.
New York Times Book Review - Howard Eilberg-Schwartz
. . . the most convincing account of how Freud's anxiety about being Jewish is reflected in his work.
The Boston Book Review - Rita Goldberg
This book contains astonishing morsels of European cultural and medical history, the sort of thing you find yourself reading aloud over the breakfast table on a Sunday morning. The author has read widely in all kinds of English and German-language sources . . . and makes free use of them. His most striking examples illustrate the institutionalized racism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The degree to which anti-Semitism, especially, permeated medicine and all the biological sciences during Freud's lifetime comes as a revelation even to those who flatter themselves with some knowledge of the period.
Time Magazines Literary Supplement
Freud, Race, and Gender is not . . . simply another study of Freud's multiple Jewish identities. . . . Gilman is principally interested in the unresolved tension between the rhetoric of race and the equally powerful rhetoric of science in Freud's work.
From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1994

"[The book's] power rests in Gilman's understanding of the complex interactions and negotiations that drive the logic of bigotry and in its revelations about the deeper pathological connections between sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia."—Maurice Berger, The Village Voice Literary Supplement

"[This work] displays all the familiar hallmarks of Gilman's formidable scholarship ... [and] points to a new direction for Freud studies. Gilman transcends the ultimately sterile disputes ... regarding the birth of psychoanalysis."—Roy Porter, The New Republic

"Freud, Race, and Gender is not . . . simply another study of Freud's multiple Jewish identities. . . . Gilman is principally interested in the unresolved tension between the rhetoric of race and the equally powerful rhetoric of science in Freud's work."—Times Literary Supplement

". . . as eye-opening as it is myth exploding. . . . [Gilman's] material is often disturbing, and his conclusions are made all the more unsettling by the fact that they are utterly convincing."—The Forward

"Gilman [is] one of the most original and stimulating cultural historians of his generation."—New Statesman & Society

". . . the most convincing account of how Freud's anxiety about being Jewish is reflected in his work."—Howard Eilberg-Schwartz, New York Times Book Review

"Original and penetrating . . . display[s] all the familiar hallmarks of Gilman's formidable scholarship. . . . richly erudite in the small print of medico-scientific writings of the fin-de-siecle era, showing Freud as a child of his times."—Roy Porter, The New Republic

"This book contains astonishing morsels of European cultural and medical history, the sort of thing you find yourself reading aloud over the breakfast table on a Sunday morning. The author has read widely in all kinds of English and German-language sources . . . and makes free use of them. His most striking examples illustrate the institutionalized racism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The degree to which anti-Semitism, especially, permeated medicine and all the biological sciences during Freud's lifetime comes as a revelation even to those who flatter themselves with some knowledge of the period."—Rita Goldberg, The Boston Book Review

"Gilman synthesizes the work of psychoanalysts, Freud biographers, literary critics, and historians to provide this impressive new reading of the meanings of 'race' and 'gender' in Freud's time. With admirable scholarship, the author tackles numerous assumptions about the manner in which Freud's Jewish male identity shaped his scientific stance in and against antisemitic culture. . . . The book also has great relevance to contemporary debates on multiculturalism."—Choice

Times Literary Supplement
Freud, Race, and Gender is not . . . simply another study of Freud's multiple Jewish identities. . . . Gilman is principally interested in the unresolved tension between the rhetoric of race and the equally powerful rhetoric of science in Freud's work.
Maurice Berger
Did Freud's anxious and defensive identity as a Jew play a significant role in the formation of his psychoanalytic theory? This is the intriguing hypothesis of Sander Gilman's latest exploration of race and gender and the human sciences....
— Maurice Berger, The Village Voice Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691025865
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/11/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 293
  • Sales rank: 823,144
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction: Freud's Jewish Identity and Its Interpretation 3
Ch. 1 Sigmund Freud and the Epistemology of Race 12
Freud and Race 12
The Mind of the Jew 23
The Transmutation of the Rhetoric of Race into the Construction of Gender 36
Ch. 2 The Construction of the Male Jew 49
The Indelibility of Circumcision 49
Reading the Meaning of Circumcision 56
Circumcision and Disease 60
Freud and Circumcision 70
Ch. 3 Jewish Madness and Gender 93
The Predisposition of Jews to Specific Forms of Mental Illness 93
Trauma and Trains: The Testing Ground of Masculinity 113
Reading Insanity: Male Homosexuality and the Rhetoric of Race 132
Conclusion: Systemic Diseases: Cancer and Anti-Semitism 169
Whose Cancer Is It, Anyway? Freud's Male Body as the Locus of Disease 169
The Circumcised Body as the Precipitating Factor for a Social Disease: Males and Anti-Semitism 179
Notes 201
Index 267
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