This volume collects Frederick Crews's two controversial essays on Freud from the New York Review of Books
, "The Unknown Freud" and "The Revenge of the Repressed," as well as some of the critical letters provoked by their original publication in 1993 and 1994. In these essays, Crews elaborates upon his belief that "the relatively patent and vulgar pseudoscience of recovered memory rests in appreciable measure on the respectable and entrenched pseudoscience of psychoanalysis." Recovered memory therapy, according to his thesis, is a grossly negative practice that, in turn, has its origins in Freudian assumptions about psychoanalysis--assumptions that Crews charges were based on fraudulent data and intellectual bullying. As the reader responses indicate, these ideas were like a grenade tossed into the center of psychoanalytic culture, made all the more powerful by Crews's lively prose.
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From Publishers Weekly
Crews mounts a slashing critique of Sigmund Freud's mistaken diagnoses, sexist hectoring of patients, exaggeration of results, equivocation and attempts to cover up therapeutic disasters. According to this distinguished critic and professor emeritus (UC Berkeley), Freud ascribed to some patients repressed oedipal sexual desires after he had unsuccessfully goaded them to remember childhood incest or molestation. Furthermore, Crews maintains, Freud in 1905 retroactively changed the alleged seducers of infants to fathers, whereas in his reports of the previous decade, they were said to have been siblings, strangers, teachers, governesses. Freud's brainchild, psychoanalysis, was and remains a pseudoscience, in Crews's estimate. Its offspring, he asserts, is today's recovered-memory movement, which he believes is deluding countless patients, mostly women, into leveling false charges of sexual abuse based on supposedly recovered memories that, in Crews's opinion, are often manufactured through overzealous or incompetent therapists' suggestions. This volume contains three articles that Crews published in the New York Review of Books in 1993 and 1994, together with his fiercely contentious exchanges with 19 letter-writers, mostly psychoanalysts, who challenged his views.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.