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Unauthorized Freud Doubters Confront a Legend
ISBN 0670872210 / 9780670872213 / 0-670-87221-0Find This Book
Frederick Crews became a well-known critic of Freud with his previous book The Memory Wars. It was a brilliant piece of work: Crews not only knows his stuff, he's a very angry man with a mind like a serrated razorblade. No compromise position here: Freud is totally dishonest, according to Crews, and his theories are a worthless sham--but the really bad news (as set forth in Crews's analysis of the "recovered memory movement") is that to this day Freud's legacy continues to inform a "therapeutic" tradition that destroys people's lives.
Crews's own contributions to Unauthorized Freud, a collection of essays and book excerpts, are a comedown: there is something hectoring and almost desperate in his tone this time around. But he has assembled impressive materials by heavyweight contributors such as philosopher of science Adolf Grünbaum and famed MIT psychologist Frank Sulloway. Some relatively new material is exposed here in a suitably unforgiving light, including both Freud's appalling behavior in the "Dora" case and the full implications of the long-suppressed Freud-Fliess correspondence. Not to be missed is Italian philologist Sebastiano Timpanaro's polite slaughtering of the concept of a Freudian slip.
Both Crews' titles are a must-read for anyone who thinks it's obvious that Freud is one of the great men of the 20th century. It would be interesting to see a Freudian offer a full response to this new book, but Crews dispatched his earlier critics with such savagery (see his final essay in The Memory Wars) that it's doubtful anyone will raise their egos above the parapet. --Richard Farr [via]