Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Subject to Biography

Subject to Biography

Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and Writing Women’s Lives

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl

ISBN 9780674002074

Publication date: 03/01/2000

In this provocative new book, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl illuminates the psychological and intellectual demands writing biography makes on the biographer and explores the complex and frequently conflicted relationship between feminism and psychoanalysis.

A practicing psychoanalyst, a distinguished scholar, and the widely praised biographer of Anna Freud and Hannah Arendt, Young-Bruehl here reflects on the relations between self-knowledge, autobiography, biography, and cultural history. She considers what remains valuable in Sigmund Freud's work, and what areas--theory of character, for instance--must be rethought to be useful for current psychoanalytic work, for feminist studies, and for social theory.

Psychoanalytic theory used for biography, she argues, can yield insights for psychoanalysis itself, particularly in the understanding of creativity. Subject to Biography offers not simply the products of an astute mind, but an entrée into the thinking process; it welcomes the reader into the writer's workshop.


  • A fascinating and challenging series of essays… They range from theoretical speculations on the art of psychobiography and the history of the troubled relationship between feminism and psychoanalysis to personal reflections on [Young-Breuhl’s] empathetic connection to her chosen biographical subjects.

    —Barbara Fisher, Boston Globe


  • Elisabeth Young-Bruehl was a psychotherapist at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. She was the author of two well-known biographies, one of Hannah Arendt and one of Anna Freud, as well as other works including Freud on Women, Creative Characters, Mind and the Body (a collection of essays), and a novel, Vigil.

Book Details

  • 288 pages
  • 5-11/16 x 8-15/16 inches
  • Harvard University Press

From this author