9780713991581 / 0713991585

Cassandra's Daughter: A History of Psychoanalysis in Europe and America (Allen Lane History)


Publisher:Penguin UK



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About the book:

What is psychoanalysis, really? Joseph Schwartz's Cassandra's Daughter: A History of Psychoanalysis in Europe and America is a timely and concise response to that question. Schwartz tells the story of the origins and early development of psychoanalysis in Freud's studies on hysteria and his discovery of the "analytic hour": an intense form of listening to whatever it is the patient has to say to his or her physician. Comparing Freud's discovery to that of the microscope and the telescope, Schwartz puts forward an account of psychoanalysis as a way of understanding that "opens up a previously unseen world": the world of the unconscious mind, of the patient's inner reality. Assessing the many challenges to Freud's work--from Jung, Melanie Klein and Alfred Adler, among others--and its fractious development in Britain and the United States, Schwartz is also keen to forge new directions for contemporary thinking in psychoanalysis (his discussion of Marie Langer's From Vienna to Nicaragua: Journey of a Psychoanalyst (1989) is particularly powerful). Cassandra's Daughter is itself a model of that forward- thinking approach. Schwartz knows how to use the often provocative and dismissive historical research into Freud's life and work (the critiques launched by, say, Jeffrey Masson or Peter Swales) without succumbing to the reduction of psychoanalysis that has been so prevalent in recent public debates. At the same time, this book brings to the fore the question of how and why psychoanalysis emerges at the end of the 19th century and, crucially, its place as a therapy, a treatment for what Schwartz describes as the "mess created by the social relationships of our time". --Vicky Lebeau

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