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Freud: A Life for Our Time Paperback – January, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 810 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (January 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393318265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393318265
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,782,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A magisterial contribution to the history of ideas. A fresh, illuminating perspective on one of the pivotal figures of our time. -- J. Anthony Lukas

Brilliant. . . . A dazzling performance. . . . Gay's ability to integrate into a coherent whole the vast published and unpublished literature on Freud-including hundreds of previously unknown or inaccessible letters-is awesome. . . . A work of art. -- Jonathan Sharp, San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

Intelligent and wholly absorbing. . . . [A] judicious, original biography, scrupulously grounded in close readings of [Freud's] work. . . . For the lay reader one of the virtues of this biography is Gay's lucid and succinct analysis of Freud's essential texts. -- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

[This] remarkable biography . . . briskly traces the story of Freud's life and education, deftly weaving the familiar narrative with a style that makes it seem fresh and lively. -- Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Peter Gay is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time. He lives in New York City. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed this biography.
Bill Rutherford
It is a beautifully written story of an incredible man's life.
Bill Bones
Best compendium of Freud's work by far.
Robert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By C. Hulshof on February 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a scholarly work, full of intricate details about the life and times of the father of the psychoanalytic movement. Everything, from Freud's private life to his theoretical views is discussed. Gay debunks many myths that surround Freud, and everywhere the enormous amount of research that has gone into the work shows through. For those interested in the psychoanalytic movement, and for those who want to know more about the man who changed our world-view, this is a definite must-read.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on February 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This biography on Sigmund Freud proves to be a total integration of all aspects of Freud's life. Everything from his psycho-analysis works to his family life, Jewish background to the political climate that surrounded his life were all integrated in this book in one massive volume. The book proves to be well written and relatively objective in outlook as the author maintain an even kneel toward his subject. I found the book to be quite informative and full of interesting insights on Freud's motives and actions.
It seem to the author that Freud's life really didn't start until he published his famous book, Interpretation of Dreams. Roughly a hundred pages covered his life prior to that and rest of 550 pages covered his life after that. There is another 150 pages of source materials and index just to let you know how thick this book can be. (Hardback)
It should be warned that due to an overwhelming amount of information provided in this book, most of the first time readers into Freud's life would probably suffer from information overload. Many of the technical terms used in Freud's work were not meant for casual readers. This biography is quite complex in nature and content. I would recommend reading couple of shorter and simpler biographies on Freud before moving up to this book. If not, you will just slog through this book like being stuck in a giant swamp of information.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By W.Khan on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a fairly detailed and comprehensive biography by someone who is an expert on Freud and the Victorian era .It gives a fairly elaborate account of Freud's ideas on psychoanalysis as they germinated and evolved over the course of his lifetime .Freud's disagreements with his disciples___notably Jung___are also presented in a fairly balanced manner.However this book gives a rather short shrift to Freud , the man , himself .You do not come away from this account with sparkling new insights into Freud's complicated character____which after all is the purpose of a good biography . The book therefore lacks the sweep and breadth of scope that we would expect from a biography of the great man.Peter Gay gives a good , factual account of Freud's life but it lacks the panache and elan that one would expect from the life of one of the seminal figures of our times .
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on December 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Peter Gay has given us yet another intelligent and stimulating work. The book was highly praised in a review and although I would have never thought it possible, the writing transported one back to the Europe of the early 20th century. In many aspects Freud was a typical bourgeois Jew - intellectual, deeply opinionated, haughty, wealthy, well-mannered and hard-working.
His group-breaking advances are explained in detail as well as his ideas on several modern practices he patented - therapy, the id, ego and superego, guilt, eroticism. It was the latter on which he rested his claim for in his exploration of sexuality he thinks he has discovered the core of each of us. We are, he states, sexual creatures and all our decisions and thought processes are geared around that fact.
The triune history - Freud's, psychotherapy, Europe - combine to form a dazzling work in which the author shows a real empathy for his subject. One of the best around.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Brianton on June 22, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent short introduction - yes, short - to the life and work of Sigmund Freud. In recent years, Freud has been subject to endless ridicule and reassessment, but there is no doubt that his mind created a intellectual whirlwind that we are still living within. Think of our age's obsession with sex and you gain a glimmer of the impact of this man, who looked beneath the polite surface to the dark underpinnings. It is fascinating to read the life of the man who changed we think about ourselves forever.
In particular, I admired his scrupulous work habits and his intensity at task. Gay has written a daunting and impressive biography. I would have liked more information about the imapct of his ideas and the way they are received today, but then again that may have filled another book. Apart from that, I cannot fault the research that went into this book and the style with which it is written.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Laserpsych on October 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you have minimal knowledge about the father of psychoanlaysis, or if you hold strong opinions about the "Prof" as his students and colleagues referred to him deferentially and affectionally, this work by Peter Gay will highlight the peaks of Freud's dazzling insights, and provide plenty of background for his all too human failings. Freud is presented as a man struggling with issues of family, career, and the inevitablity of death. Gay is able to condense and summarize key Freudian concepts and place them in the context of the life and cultural time of the father of psychoanalysis. For students of psychology as well as observers of our current cultural and political delusions, Gay neatly captures the details as well as the broad scope of Freud's shadow on the 20th Century and beyond.
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