Freud: The Making of an Illusion
Sigmund Freud is one of the most influential figures of western society. His ideas transformed the way that we think about our minds, our selves, and even our thoughts. But while he was undeniably a visionary thinker, Freud's legend was also the work of years of careful mythologizing, and a fierce refusal to accept criticism or scrutiny of his often unprincipled methods. In Freud: The Making of an Illusion, Frederick Crews dismantles Freud's totemic reputation, brick by brick. Looking at recently revealed correspondence, he examines Freud's own personality, his selfishness, competitiveness and willingness to cut corners and exploit weaknesses to get his own way. He explores Freud's whole-hearted embracing of cocaine as a therapeutic tool, and the role it played in his own career. And he interrogates Freud's intellectual legacy, exposing how many of his ideas and conclusions were purely speculative, or taken wholesale from others.As acidic as it is authoritative, this critique of the man behind the legend is compulsory reading for anyone interested in Freudianism.
A searing examination of Freud's life and legacy, from a major academic
An elegant and relentless expose ... Crews comes to bury Freud, not to praise him, and he does so convincingly. Impressively well-researched, powerfully written, and definitively damning. * Kirkus Reviews * This riveting and masterful reassessment puts the final nail in the coffin of Sigmund Freud's misguided career by meticulously documenting his willful descent into pseudoscience. Altogether a fascinating read! - -- Frank J. Sulloway, author * Freud, Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend * Investigating the famed investigator of the human mind, Frederick Crews reveals Freud as a self-aggrandizing charlatan who cured no one and lacked the most elementary insight into human beings. The Freudian myth?one of the thought-deforming tyrannies of the 20th century?is hereby at an end. This book is as exhilarating as the fall of the Berlin wall -- Stewart Justman, author of The Psychological Mystique For those who worship Freud, and even those millions who have simply admired his ideas, Crews's rigorous and captivating detective work will be a bracing challenge. -- Elizabeth Loftus, co-author of The Myth of Repressed Memory Frederick Crews has written a riveting, masterful biography of Freud that demolishes forever the myth of the brilliant, heroic conquistador of the human mind. Delving deeply into hitherto suppressed archival material, Crews paints an unforgettable portrait of an utterly incompetent psychotherapist whose ruthless pursuit of wealth and fame led him to disregard the welfare of his patients as well as the scruples of scientific method -- Richard J. McNally, author of What Is Mental Illness? In Freud: The Making of an Illusion, Frederick Crews tells the riveting story of how a troubled, insecure, but supremely ambitious doctor stumbled from one therapeutic fantasy to another before hitting on the one that made him famous. Crews is a master narrator, and he has put his finger on the key factor in Freud's career?the remarkable series of intense, morally fraught, and truly bizarre relationships (collegial, therapeutic, and sexual) that kept Freud going as his theories proved ever resistant to confirmation -- John Farrell, author of Freud's Paranoid Quest One has to admire Crews's story: the way he tells it, and the marvelous blending of the different sources -- Malcolm Macmillan, author of Freud Evaluated: The Completed Arc A tremendously important book. -- Paul McHugh, author, * Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind *
Frederick Crews is an essayist and literary critic. Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Berkeley, Crews is the author of books on Henry James, E. M. Forster, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Postmodern Pooh, a book of satirical essays parodying contemporary criticism (Profile). Crews has written a number of essays, book reviews and commentaries for The New York Review of Books, on topics including Freud.