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Dispatches from the Freud Wars

Dispatches from the Freud Wars

Psychoanalysis and Its Passions

John Forrester

ISBN 9780674539617

Publication date: 10/15/1998

In this challenging collection of essays, the noted historian and philosopher of science John Forrester delves into the disputes over Freud's dead body. With wit and erudition, he tackles questions central to our psychoanalytic century's ways of thinking and living, including the following: Can one speak of a morality of the psychoanalytic life? Are the lives of both analysts and patients doomed to repeat the incestuous patterns they uncover? What and why did Freud collect? Is a history of psychoanalysis possible?

By taking nothing for granted and leaving no cliché of psychobabble--theoretical or popular--unturned, Forrester gives us a sense of the ethical surprises and epistemological riddles that a century of tumultuous psychoanalytical debate has often obscured. In these pages, we explore dreams, history, ethics, political theory, and the motor of psychoanalysis as a scientific movement.

Forrester makes us feel that the Freud Wars are not merely a vicious quarrel or a fashionable journalistic talking point for the late twentieth century. This hundred years' war is an index of the cultural and scientific climate of modern times. Freud is indeed a barometer for understanding how we conduct our different lives.


  • Where Forrester hits the mark is his insight on the passionate intensity of the battles between Freud and his critics, and the analogy he makes between this struggle and the one between analyst and his or her patient. It may be possible, in fact, to read the entire commentary on Freud as that between analysand and analyst, all projecting part of their shadow onto Freud and struggling in the trenches of transference and countertransference. It is to Forrester's credit that he sees this and shows it to us in this provocative book.

    —Claire Douglas, Washington Post Book World


  • John Forrester was Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

Book Details

  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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