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Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis Paperback – December 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Makari, the director of Cornell's Institute for the History of Psychiatry, provides a comprehensive early history of psychoanalysis from 1895 to 1946. Although his early colleague Josef Breuer justifiably claimed that Freud was a man given to absolute and exclusive formulations, the great Viennese thinker's revolutionary understanding of the psyche evolved quite a bit, shifting away from psychosexual theory toward the tripartite division of the psyche (ego/id/superego) around 1920. Discussing the steadily growing community of psychoanalysts in Vienna (and, successively, in Zurich, Berlin and elsewhere), Makari notes that the Freudians could sometimes be intellectually insular and sectlike, resulting in the expulsion of Alfred Adler and C.G. Jung from Freud's circle between 1907 and 1913. Makari succinctly describes developments after Freud's influence peaked, especially the prominence of what came to be called ego psychology as developed by Heinz Hartmann, and the bitter intellectual dispute between Melanie Klein and Anna Freud. Makari tries to cover so much ground that some sections get a bit sketchy, but most of his ideas come across clearly in this challenging but rewarding intellectual history. 31 b&w photos. (Jan. 8)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
With psychoanalysis under intellectual siege in recent decades, Makari retrieves its original radicalism in this history of its formative decades. Establishing the context of its origin, Makari discusses thought current in Europe in the late 1800s about the nature of the mind and mental illness. Introducing Sigmund Freud, Makari depicts the guru of psychoanalysis feuding with rivals and acquiring acolytes as he found his calling and steadily gained prominence as a medical and psychological innovator. The disputations that developed in Freud’s wake impel Makari’s narrative and inform his readers of the deep divisions that developed within the psychoanalytic community, ranging from the qualifications to be a psychoanalyst to what theories and techniques had a claim on being scientific. Consequently, schools of variant theoretical casts sprouted in Vienna, Zurich, and Berlin, while Ernest Jones imported Freudianism to Britain. From a scholar deeply informed and perceptive about psychoanalysis, this work will well satisfy a curiosity about its historical development up to Freud’s death in 1939. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
of Freudian psychology and its various offshoots is enormously satisfying. Most interesting is the observation that
many of the early theorists made useful innovations in concept or techniques, and then tried to inflate the
observations into central dogma. p. 437 "It was by now a familiar story in the history of psychoanalysis. The brilliance of
many of Klein's innovations and observations might be ignored or lost because she was unable to restrain her claims , which
swelled far beyond the observations that first gave them life."
Importantly, Makai gives more than anecdotal treatment to Wilhelm Reich and his therapeutic resistance analysis technique innovations.
Reich was the inevitable psycho-social result of Freud's discovery of irrational behavior rooted in the unconscious. Makai shows the context
of Reich's 'character armoring' theory that emerged from dealing with real patients in the Vienna and Berlin clinics--not by deduction from theoretical principals like the 'death wish' theory Freud adopted.
Like gears that could not be disengaged, the discovery that societal and familial sexual and emotional repression produced life limiting character
armor led Reich to seek to treat political formations with resistance therapy techniques. Reich emerges as one of the few founding minds of
psychoanalysis that dared to 'poke the hornet's nest' p. 399 and analyze a society that resulted from repressed people. Reich's 'Mass Psychology of Fascism' is excellent companion reading for lovers of Allen Furst or Phillip Keer novels that capture the same historical period as
free loving Berlin was crushed under the fascist steam roller. What Reich observed and lucidly analyzed in 1933 could equally apply to the political phenomena of Donald Trump in 2016. A great reservoir of repressed frustration and anger can be tapped in a mass psychological appeal to fascism with brutal results. Makai deftly handles the narrative that marches the concepts of Freudian psychology from theories in philosophy to therapeutic techniques and discoveries with unavoidable social political implications.
Like Melanie Klein, Carl Jung and others, Reich's theorizing carried him into territory others refused to follow. Makai's overview does not detail the further exploration of Reich's work in later bio-energetic analysis which practical application brought and still brings significant psychological relief to many. Anyone can discover that a good massage that unlocks chronically tense muscles releases associated memories. There are too few practitioners to systematically unlock frozen character structures in the public at large. We may pay the price for abandoning Reich's dream of a Sex-Pol that normalized and protected adolescent emotional life from mystical colonization. This is an excellent book.
There is something narcotic about plunging deep into the human unconscious
and then rising to the surface with pearls of wisdom.
So far so good. But there is also a certain sloppiness about the production of this book that I for one found annoying. There is no bibliography, although the notes carry bibliographic information. The photos would be so much more enjoyable if they had been printed on separate glossy pages, which is the norm for quality books. The English language is not always quite given its due: does the author know, for example, what the singular is of "phenomena" (p. 416) ? And then we are told, quite a bit, about "Aryan" psychoanalysts (pp. 410, 417, etc). What are Aryans ? I thought that only Nazis think that there are such people.
Yes, research libraries need to buy this book. But not anyone else.