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How did psychoanalysis attain its prominent cultural position? How did it eclipse rival psychologies and psychotherapies, such that it became natural to bracket Freud with Copernicus and Darwin? Why did Freud 'triumph' to such a degree that we hardly remember his rivals? This book reconstructs the early controversies around psychoanalysis and shows that rather than demonstrating its superiority, Freud and his followers rescripted history. This legend-making was not an incidental addition to psychoanalytic theory but formed its core. Letting the primary material speak for itself, this history demonstrates the extraordinary apparatus by which this would-be science of psychoanalysis installed itself in contemporary societies. Beyond psychoanalysis, it opens up the history of the constitution of the modern psychological sciences and psychotherapies, how they furnished the ideas which we have of ourselves and how these became solidified into indisputable 'facts'.Read more
- Proposes a new history of psychoanalysis, showing how psychoanalysis was formed and how it surmounted its rivals
- Shows the relation of psychoanalysis to history, literature and science
- Will be of interest to anyone interested in cultural, literary and philosophical uses of psychoanalysis as well as anyone interested in the formation of the modern psychological disciplines
Reviews & endorsements
"...the book collects together all the main claims that have been leveled over the years against psychoanalysis and, more particularly, its founder..."
--John Gray, Literary ReviewSee more reviews
"...This book will be of interest to anyone concerned with debunking myths.... General readers may learn from this book as well as advanced scholars.... This book is fascinating and convincing and I took a lot of pleasure reading it..."
--Christophe Al-Saleh, University of Amiens, France, Metapsychology Online Review
"offers a fascinating look at deliberate construction of one of contemporary culture’s most enduring lenses on the human condition, challenging its most fundamental assumptions and frameworks..."
--Maria Popova, Brainpickings
"...To reconstruct pyschoanalysis’s arduous rise, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen and Sonu Shamdasani in The Freud Files draw on the major revisionist works of the Freud wars by Henri Ellenberger and Frank Sulloway as well as letters made available in recent years, among them Freud’s correspondence with Abraham and Sándor Ferenczi...."
--Elias Altman, Nature
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- Date Published: January 2012
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521509909
- length: 414 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 158 x 29 mm
- weight: 0.78kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: the past of an illusion
1. Privatising science
2. The interprefaction of dreams
3. Case histories
4. Policing the past
Coda: what was psychoanalysis?
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Selected Topics in Humanities
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