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Unauthorized Freud: Doubters Confront a Legend
     

Unauthorized Freud: Doubters Confront a Legend

by Frederick C. Crews (Editor)
 
The myth: Sigmund Freud was the heroic investigator who discovered a way to uncover the mind's secret wishes and repressed traumas, thereby curing his neurotic patients and freeing a culture from its dependence on sexual denial. The reality: Professor Crews argues that Freud devised a self-validating method of inquiry, deluded himself about his

Overview

The myth: Sigmund Freud was the heroic investigator who discovered a way to uncover the mind's secret wishes and repressed traumas, thereby curing his neurotic patients and freeing a culture from its dependence on sexual denial. The reality: Professor Crews argues that Freud devised a self-validating method of inquiry, deluded himself about his patients' illnesses, and failed to cure them. He founded a doctrinaire movement that has excommunicated dissenters while trying to evade empirical scrutiny. In Unauthorized Freud, Frederick Crews, America's best-known and most trenchant opponent of psychoanalysis, frames the revisionist case against Freud in selections by historians and critics. Drawing on such astute observers as Frank J. Sulloway, Adolf Grünbaum, Ernest Gellner, and Frank Cioffi, Crews has assembled a powerful case against the coherence of Freud's brainchild. Free association, transference, symbolic dream interpretation, the Freudian slip, female masochism, penis envy--each classical tenet of psychoanalysis is shown to be fundamentally flawed. Together with Crews's pointed analysis, these chapters produce a shattering sense of finality: the Freudian revolution is now a thing of the past.

Editorial Reviews

Books & Culture: A Christian Review
...[H]ardhitting.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Here are 20 rigorous essays that mount a formidable critique of mainstream Freudian theory and practice, and of Freud's major cases. Whereas Freud fostered the idea of solitary, heroic discovery through his self-analysis, in reality, the authors contend, he taught his followers to replace the empirical attitude with blind loyalty and censorship, instilling in them a negative, quasi-paranoid view of rival theorists and clinicians. The contributors--among them Frank J. Sulloway, Ernest Gellner, Peter J. Swales and other noted American and European scholars in fields ranging from philosophy to neuroscience--present compelling evidence that Freud habitually and greatly exaggerated his therapeutic successes. They also cast serious doubt on new Freudians' confidence in free association as a curative tool to decipher the meaning of dreams or to reconstruct events from a patient's distant past. Freud's attempt to fit women (whom he apparently viewed as second-class humans) into his "castration-based" account of the mind is seen as having disastrous consequences, such as assumptions of "normal" female masochism or women's moral and cultural weakness. Although the book as a whole overstates its case, Crews, eminent literary critic, satirist and professor emeritus at U.C.-Berkeley, has done such an excellent job of choosing and editing the selections--all of which have been previously published, mainly in academic books and periodicals--that they form a cohesive whole, and as such put psychoanalysis squarely on the defensive.
Booknews
A mustering of 18 opposition stalwarts who accuse the master of being a dogmatist who browbeat his patients and consistently failed to distinguish between their fantasies and his own, and accuse his child, psychoanalysis, of offering no credible evidence for the top-heavy Freudian system of mental laws and powers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765535399
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
08/01/1998
Pages:
301

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