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By Paul Robinson

Wars opposed to Freud were waged alongside nearly each entrance up to now decade. Now Paul Robinson takes on 3 of Freud's so much bold critics, mounting a considerate, witty, and finally devastating critique of the historian of technological know-how Frank Sulloway, the psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, and the thinker Adolf Grnbaum. Frank Sulloway contends that Freud took so much of his rules from Darwin and different modern thinkersthat he used to be whatever of a closet biologist. Jeffrey Masson fees that Freud caved in to see strain whilst he deserted his early seduction idea (which Masson believes was once right) in desire of the concept of childish sexuality. Adolf Grnbaum impugns Freud's declare to have grounded his ideasespecially the belief of the unconsciouson strong empirical foundations. less than Robinson's rigorous cross-examination, the facts of those 3 accusers proves ambiguous and their arguments biased via underlying assumptions and ideological commitments. Robinson concludes that the anti-Freudian writings of Sulloway, Masson, and Grnbaum show extra approximately their authors' prejudicesand concerning the Zeitgeist of the earlier decadethan they do approximately Freud. fantastically crafted and entire of surprises, Robinson's paintings is a compelling safety of 1 of history's most unusual and robust minds. Freud and His Critics will earn an everlasting position within the raging Freudian debate.

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Rather, they were at all times guided by a single-minded consciousness of the political advantages of presenting Freud as a lonely proponent of unpopular ideas. To this end they denied his biological debts, transformed Fliess into a crackpot, promoted the self-analysis beyond all reason, and ignored his intellectual affinities with his contemporaries. Sulloway’s conception of the biographers’ motives is as unnuanced as his conception of Freud’s own motives. He insists on a strictly conspiratorial view of their enterprise.

But set beside the slash-and-burn, scorched-earth manner of Masson, Sulloway sounds decidedly pedantic. His sentences are overburdened and ornate, while Masson’s are direct, simple, and breezy. Above all, Masson writes in the charged language of moral indignation, his discussion of historical questions giving way easily and often to personal judgment and ad hominem attack. His idiosyncrasies notwithstanding, with Sulloway one never doubts that the real issue is one of intellectual history—of getting Freud’s story properly told.

To this end they denied his biological debts, transformed Fliess into a crackpot, promoted the self-analysis beyond all reason, and ignored his intellectual affinities with his contemporaries. Sulloway’s conception of the biographers’ motives is as unnuanced as his conception of Freud’s own motives. He insists on a strictly conspiratorial view of their enterprise. In the final segment of his book, its emotional bones are fully bared, as Sulloway’s supposedly admiring biography climaxes in an orgy of Freudian mendacity and self-promotion.

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