Cover: Freud: In His Time and Ours, from Harvard University PressCover: Freud in HARDCOVER


In His Time and Ours

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$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674659568

Publication Date: 11/07/2016


592 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 chart


Élisabeth Roudinesco’s new biography, Freud: In His Time and Ours, is a welcome reminder of Freud’s considerable influence on 20th-century intellectual life. More important, she puts center stage Freud’s complex brand of rationalism and the full scope of his achievements, which went far beyond offering a cure for individuals. In particular, Roudinesco captures Freud’s recognition of the insurmountable ways in which our irrational desires and longings shape who we are and how we act. This correction is needed not only to give us a more accurate sense of Freud’s innovations, but also to contrast it against today’s more complacent assumptions about human rationality. Despite what economists and psychologists and political scientists insist, the rational self is not always master in its own house—whether in individual life or in collective experience… Roudinesco recounts Freud’s life and the development of his thought with great flair.—Samuel Moyn, The Nation

Through seamlessly and eloquently weaving together details from Freud’s time and our own, [Roudinesco] provides a refreshingly new and welcome account—warts and all.—Janet Sayers, Times Higher Education

What makes Freud: In His Time And Ours…such a captivating read, is the author’s ability to explain what are often complex, deeply-layered, and dark taboo subjects, into a language that is easily understood… [A] brilliant biography.—J. P. O’Mallery, The Irish Examiner

A balanced account of one of the most exceptional and daring thinkers and writers to emerge in the modernist era.—J. P. O’Malley, The Irish Times

A new standard… [A] masterful achievement… It has the…tangible mix of insouciance, scholarly thoroughness and psychoanalytic acumen, and it demonstrates Roudinesco’s critical and philosophical talent. The book’s strength is not so much in providing new material, although it does supply intriguing details about Freud’s patients and his relationships with family, friends, opponents and disciples. Rather, Roudinesco offers us a rereading of Freud that makes sense of him in relation to his emergence in the Jewish Vienna of the second half of the 19th century, and to the ‘old Europe’ to which he was so attached until it crumbled in the 20th.—Stephen Frosh, The Jewish Chronicle

[A] compelling biography… Forget the science: Roudinesco presents a brilliant cultural commentator, a man who married Romanticism and science in a way attractive to the belle époque. In fact, the biographer anchors Freud to his time and place in a way he himself—for all his focus on ‘civilization and its discontents’—never managed.—Brian Bethune, Maclean’s

[Roudinesco] provides an insightful, balanced, and sympathetic portrait of Freud. As she assesses Freud’s revolutionary ideas about rationality, sexuality, and the unconscious, Roudinesco demonstrates that Freud was less a scientific thinker who uncovered universal truths than a product of his time: a genius, to be sure, but very much a bourgeois shaped by society, family, and politics in the late 19th century… Her critique has an especially persuasive force because it is grounded not only in an analysis of Freud’s books, diaries, and letters but from accounts of his sessions with patients.—Glenn C. Altschuler, Psychology Today

This is a book which eschews simple answers and is thus a significant milestone in our understanding of Freud… Roudinesco’s work is both comprehensive and subtle… In reclaiming [Freud] as ‘the master interpreter of civilization and culture,’ she has provided an invaluable service.—Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

A revealing portrait of a cultural revolutionary.—Bryce Christensen, Booklist (starred review)

Freud, a pioneer in creative biography, meets his analyst, a woman who illuminates modern psychology and social evolution for general audiences. This is perhaps the most important Freud biography since that of Jones, and a welcome corrective.—E. James Lieberman, Library Journal (starred review)

Do we think we know all there is to know about Freud? Not even close. Élisabeth Roudinesco’s book is full of fresh facts about Freud’s life and potent interpretation of his work. A sparkling and highly original intellectual biography.—Mark Edmundson, author of The Death of Sigmund Freud: The Legacy of His Last Days

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