Psychoanalysis
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Basic Theory of NeuropsychoanalysisA Cursing Brain?A Dream of Undying FameA Map of the MindAfter LacanAgainst AdaptationAgainst FreudAn Anatomy of AddictionAnalytic FreudAndré Green at the Squiggle FoundationAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnna FreudAnna Freud: A BiographyApproaching PsychoanalysisAttachment and PsychoanalysisBadiouBecoming a SubjectBefore ForgivingBerlin PsychoanalyticBetween Emotion and CognitionBeyond GenderBeyond SexualityBeyond the Pleasure PrincipleBiology of FreedomBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCarl JungCassandra's DaughterCherishmentConfusion of TonguesContemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third ReichCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDarwin's WormsDesert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Dispatches from the Freud WarsDoes the Woman Exist?Doing Psychoanalysis in TehranDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDreaming by the BookEnergy Psychology InteractiveEqualsErrant SelvesEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFed with Tears -- Poisoned with MilkFeminism and Its DiscontentsForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFour Lessons of PsychoanalysisFratricide in the Holy LandFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud at 150Freud's AnswerFreud's WizardFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFrom Classical to Contemporary PsychoanalysisFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGoing SaneHans BellmerHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHate and Love in Psychoanalytical InstitutionsHatred and ForgivenessHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHeinz KohutHeinz KohutHidden MindsHistory of ShitHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisImagination and Its PathologiesImagine There's No WomanIn Freud's TracksIn SessionIn the Floyd ArchivesIntimaciesIntimate RevoltIrrationalityIs Oedipus Online?Jacques LacanJacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of PsychoanalysisJung and the Making of Modern PsychologyJung Stripped BareKilling FreudLacanLacanLacanLacan and Contemporary FilmLacan at the SceneLacan For BeginnersLacan in AmericaLacan TodayLacan's Seminar on AnxietyLawLearning from Our MistakesLove's ExecutionerMad Men and MedusasMale Female EmailMelanie KleinMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMental SlaveryMind to MindMixing MindsMoral StealthMourning and ModernityMovies and the MindMurder in ByzantiumNew Studies of Old VillainsNocturnesNoir AnxietyOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn BeliefOn IncestOn Not Being Able to SleepOn the Freud WatchOn the Way HomeOpen MindedOpera's Second DeathOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhenomology & Lacan on Schizophrenia, After the Decade of the BrainPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsychoanalysisPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and NeurosciencePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychoanalysis as Biological SciencePsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis in a New LightPsychoanalysis in FocusPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy As PraxisPutnam CampQuestions for FreudRe-Inventing the SymptomReading Seminar XXReinventing the SoulRelational Theory and the Practice of PsychotherapyRelationalityRepressed SpacesRevolt, She SaidSecrets of the SoulSerious ShoppingSex on the CouchSexuationSigmund FreudSoul Murder RevisitedSpectral EvidenceSpirit, Mind, and BrainStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherSubjectivity and OthernessSubstance Abuse As SymptomSurrealist Painters and PoetsTaboo SubjectsTalk is Not EnoughThe Art of the SubjectThe Brain and the Inner WorldThe Brain, the Mind and the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Revolt of the PrimitiveThe Seminar of Moustafa SafouanThe Sense and Non-Sense of RevoltThe Shortest ShadowThe Social History of the UnconsciousThe Surface EffectThe Symmetry of GodThe Tragedy of the SelfThe Trainings of the PsychoanalystThe UnsayableThe World of PerversionTherapeutic ActionTherapy's DelusionsThis Incredible Need to BelieveThoughts Without A ThinkerTo Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the WorldTrauma and Human ExistenceTraumatizing TheoryUmbr(a)Unconscious knowing and other essays in psycho-philosophical analysisUnderstanding Dissidence and Controversy in the History of PsychoanalysisUnderstanding PsychoanalysisUnfree AssociationsWalking HeadsWay Beyond FreudWhat Does a Woman Want?What Freud Really MeantWhen the Body SpeaksWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Whose Freud?Why Psychoanalysis?Wilhelm ReichWinnicottWinnicott On the ChildWisdom Won from IllnessWittgenstein on Freud and FrazerWittgenstein Reads FreudWorld, Affectivity, TraumaZizek

Related Topics
On the Freud WatchReview - On the Freud Watch
Public Memoirs
by Paul Roazen
Free Association Books, 2003
Review by Gerda Wever-Rabehl, Ph.D.
Jan 4th 2005 (Volume 9, Issue 1)

Let every man in mankind's frailty

Consider his last day; and let none

Presume on his good fortune until he find

Life, at his death, a memory without pain. (Sophocles' Oedipus Rex)

Despite, or perhaps thanks to, continued controversy, and, over the past two decades, dismissal, of Freud's psychoanalytic thought, the long-dead thinker remains a powerful source of fascination. While psychiatry departments seem to have simply abandoned Freud, others, inspired by our contemporary preference for cheap and easy, trash Freud's legacy in favor of Prozac and Viagra. Still others, despite Freud's unyielding conviction that philosophy can learn from psychoanalysis and not the other way around, philosophize Freud, and while they're at it, augment and alter his theories. Then there are those who demand more political interpretations of psychoanalytic theory and see psychoanalysis as a foundation of democracy.  In stressing psychoanalysis as having extensive social and cultural dimensions, Paul Roazen, a political theorist himself, might be seen as a representative of the latter group. Yet the thoughtful and carefully balanced inclusion of this argument makes On the Freud Watch: Public Memoirs a gem in the midst of the vehement arguments and pleas on the various Freud Front Lines. For Roazen, pluralism is clearly something more than 'verbal adherence' (p. 201.) And maintaining the integrity of the book's fabric of diversity is, as the opening quote suggests, Roazen's reminder that at the core of Freud's psychoanalysis lies the ancient question as to how to live. Roazen suggests that in answering that question, Freud departed from the presupposition that tragedy is an inevitable part of human experience and that human nature is frail. Following Freud, Roazen suggests that the best we can do is to learn to live with this frailty, as well as with pain and distress. Neurosis and inner conflicts, Roazen reminds us, are part and parcel of the kinds of beings we are. We cannot, nor should we, be cured from our condition. The notion of progress then, Roazen suggests, is, while promoted as the new faith, one of our most dangerous delusions- progress, if possible at all, can only be made in our rather fragile ability to live with our foibles and woes.

On the Freud Watch does not get of to a good start, however. Early on, Roazen confesses that having been heavily criticized by Kurt E. Eissler as well as by Anna Freud (who called him 'a menace') was traumatic for him. Unfortunately, this trauma inundates the first few chapters, which are permeated with self-vindicating discourse and consequently make for a rather tedious read.  Yet, the latter part of the book makes up generously for these somewhat wearing early chapters. These chapters are scholarly treasures of poised equilibrium. Vigilant of naiveté and continually reminding the reader of the complexities, inconsistencies and ambiguities of human affairs, Roazen intersperses references to Freud's connections with the Hitler regime and enthusiasm for Mussolini with beautiful and moving excerpts of Freud's writing. He juxtaposes Freud's moral ethics with his criticism of the United States and psychoanalysis' initial problematic approach to race with its bold and profound human insights. He reminds us that we are too often and too easily misled by our traditional faith in progress and warns against chauvinistic hindsight when it comes to the study of the past. For Roazen, the past is a central concern- for individual lives, and for our social institutions as well.

Real gems in On the Freud Watch are Chapter 11, Canada: Political Psychology, and Chapter 6; Charles Dickens's David Copperfield and Chapter 7, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. In these latter two chapters, Roazen, continually supporting his ideas and interpretations with psychoanalytic thought, weaves together discerning interpretations of the life and writings of Dickens and O'Neill with insightful renderings of their main characters, thoughts on early trauma, child psychoanalysis and Freud's thoughts and comments on arts and artists.  These chapters are marvelous collages of theoretical interpretations, philosophy, fragments of letters, excerpts of stories, quotes of poems and bits and pieces of conversations.

Another must-read is Chapter 13, called Winners and Losers in the History of Psychoanalysis. This discussion of the history of psychoanalysis follows the, what Roazen calls, "teeter-totter" framework of history. On this teeter-totter of the history of psychoanalysis, as Roazen describes it, the elevation of some is accompanied by the fall of others. One of the 'winners,' and sitting on the elevated part of the teeter-totter, is Emil Kraepelin. Roazen connects the revival of Kraeplin's biological psychiatry (to the extent that there is a whole movement called the neo-Kraepelins striving to expand this thoroughly dated orientation) with the 'excessive rationalism' of our contemporary fascination with diagnostics, classification and heredity. Furthermore, he places the Kraepelin renaissance – whose representatives appear to be quite critical of psychoanalysis-- within the very same historical pragmatism in which American receptivity toward Freud was once grounded. Yet what makes this chapter particularly penetrating is the considerable time and attention Roazen spent on those on the floored part of the teeter-totter. Roazen explains early on that he is not interested in 'historical cheer-leading,' (p.21) and he lives up to that assertion. Instead, he forcefully shapes his self-proclaimed role as 'historical witness' (p. 48) in bearing witness not only to the winners in the history of psychoanalysis, but also to long-forgotten, but important and original voices such as those of Mikhail Bakunin, Franz Alexander, Sandor Rado and Abram Kardiner.

Roazen brings not only Freud's skepticism and irony back into clinical thought, but also revives many voices which were formative in the history of psychoanalysis but which have nonetheless been left and forgotten on the floored part of the teeter-totter of the history of psychoanalysis. Roazen includes these voices, as well as a wide variety of ordinary and extraordinary, provocative and controversial documents. Notwithstanding the somewhat rough start, On the Freud Watch: Public Memoirs is not only a powerful critique of contemporary insurance-driven, drug-dispensing psychiatric practices, but also an extraordinary account of the history of psychoanalysis.  

 

© 2005 Gerda Wever-Rabehl

 

Gerda Wever-Rabehl holds a Ph.D from Simon Fraser University, and has published extensively in the areas of social science, philosophy and philosophy of  education.


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7900 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716