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Book Title: Freud: A Life for Our Time|
The author of the book: Peter Gay
Edition: W. W. Norton Company
Date of issue: May 17th 2006
ISBN 13: 9780393328615
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.47 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.8
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Brilliant biography of Freud (probably the best since Ernest Jones’s three v. effort). Heavy emphasis on ideas, especially within the nineteenth century context (both bourgeois Vienna & 19th c. scientific -- e.g., Darwin & physiological school). Treats the psychoanalytic movement, in terms of its theory, technique, and, of course, its politics. Freud’s writings can be quite difficult and theory-laden. Gay skilfully navigates through Freud’s vast literary catalogue, providing both the personal (i.e., argumentative) and scientific context to help his audience gain access to Freud's rather towering intellect. Does an especially nice job weaving Freud’s personal life into the narrative; though, it must be reiterated: Gay spends the bulk of his biography wrestling with the nuances of Freud’s personal life as it relates to his theories. (Breuer, Fleiss, Jung, all figure prominently as Freud's personal oedipal figures.) Expounds expansively on the significance of Freud’s thought -- theoretical breakthroughs and as a cultural force. While Gay places Freud firmly within an Enlightened intellectual tradition, he also presents Freud as a dialectical thinker wrestling with speculative concepts like the metapsychology of human instinct and the nature of aggression in evolutionary biology. Gay's Freud is quite the sphinx. Indeed, his psychoanalytic concept of 'ambivalence' seems central if we hope to understand his personality & his work's significance. Freud left a fascinating and a subversive intellectual tradition.
Valuable for intellectual historians: frequent 8-10 page summaries of particular books and essays. Invaluable bibliographic essay. Note: Gay defends herein psychoanalysis as a legitimate technique for the historical discipline.
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Read information about the authorThe son of a glassware maker, Peter Joachim Fröhlich grew up in Germany as the Nazis rose to power. Escaping in 1938 with the rest of his family on the last boat of refugees admitted to Cuba, he gained entry with them to the United States two years later, whereupon he changed his name to Gay. He graduated from the University of Denver in 1946 and earned a master's and doctorate in history from Columbia University.
Gay taught at Columbia from 1947 until 1969. In 1969 he joined the faculty at Yale University, where he taught until he retired as Sterling Professor of History in 1993. He was a former director of the New York Public Library's Center for Scholars and Writers from 1997 until 2003. Gay was the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Book Award and the received the American Historical Association's (AHA) Award for Scholarly Distinction.
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