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The Freud Files
An Inquiry into the History of Psychoanalysis

  • Date Published: November 2011
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521729789

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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'.

    • 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
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Attempts to debunk the legend in the 1970s and 80s failed. But a current assault, helped by a wealth of 'declassified' material, correspondence and critical studies, looks more likely to dismantle the monomyth … the legend is 'fraying from all sides'.' New Scientist

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521729789
    • length: 450 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • 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
  • Authors

    Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, University of Washington
    Professor Sonu Shamdasani is a historian of psychology and psychiatry and is widely regarded as the leading Jung historian at work today. His numerous publications have been translated into many languages and his last edited book, Jung's Red Book (2009) was on The New York Times bestseller list and a documentary is currently being prepared on the subject.

    Sonu Shamdasani, University College London
    Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. He is the author of highly influential books on the theory and history of psychoanalysis and co-author of the bestselling Le livre noir de la psychanalyse (The Black Book of Psychoanalysis).

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