With all the intrigue and twists of a mystery, Questions for Freud uncovers the paradoxes that riddle psychoanalysis today and traces them to Freud’s vacillation at key points in his work—and from there to a traumatic event in Freud’s life.
What role did censored family history play in shaping Freud’s psychological inquiries, promoting and impeding them by turns? With this question in mind, Nicholas Rand and Mária Török develop a new biographical and conceptual approach to psychoanalysis, one that outlines Freud’s contradictory theories of mental functioning against the backdrop of his permanent lack of insight into crucial and traumatic aspects of his immediate family’s life. Taking us through previously unpublished documents and Freud’s dreams, his clinical work and institutional organization, the authors show how a shameful event in 1865 that shook Freud and his family can help explain the internal clashes that later beset his work—on the origins of neurosis, reality, trauma, fantasy, sexual repression, the psychoanalytic study of literature, and dream interpretation.
Steeped in the history, theory, and practice of psychoanalysis, this book offers a guide to the wary, a way of understanding the flaws and contradictions of Freud’s thought without losing sight of its significance. This book will alter the terms of the current debate about the standing of psychoanalysis and Freud.