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Freud on Trial
bibliomaniac
I was almost sorry the book ended, I was enjoying it so much. Tausk's diary was particularly wonderful. Peter Freidman author Ideal Marriage
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Psychoanalysis is in many ways like a religion. People trace their lineage as it were from the Prophet Freud and from his early disciples. Sitting on stage in front of an audience of 130 people at the Austrian Cultural Forum, I wondered what the analystsin the audience would say about what could be perceived as my deviance.  I tried not to think about it as I sketched out the two triangles in my book--both equally lethal to Freud's disciple Viktor Tausk. The first between Freud, Tausk and Lou Andreas Salome, the second between Helene Deutsch, Tausk and Freud. I talked about historical fiction and how I'd come to believe what I did about Freud. In the process, I mentioned  that I had been analyzed by Kurt Eissler former head of the Freud Archives and my mother had been analysed by Marianne Kris,most widely known as the  analyst of Marilyn Monroe. An elderly lady in a widebrimmed hat unsuitable to the freezing cold, asked me if I had read Eissler's "Talent and Genius" his defense of Freud against Paul Roazen's defamation of character. "Of course I said."    "It seemed so convincing, so right" she said. When I asked her how she knew that she couldn't answer, Bewildered she looked at me. "I'm confused," she said. "Dr Eissler ws your analyst but what you said in your talk seemed so different from..." she trailed off. "It was different," I said. "We disagree." Everyone laughed. A man in the back raised his hand. "Don't you think that what you're doing is dangerous?" he asked nervously. "I mean someone could get confused and think that your fiction is the truth."   "I think it is,"I said. This time no one laughed. 

 

 

 

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Fascinating to read this! I

Fascinating to read this! I hadn't realized that these battles were still being fought with such intensity. Have you felt any repercussions since your talk?

Psychoanalysis is indeed like a religion, albeit one with far less influence than it used to have, at least in the therapeutic community. (I sometimes feel its influence is felt far more in literature and philosophy.)

I was trained in the 70's, in a traditional doctoral program in clinical psychology, and then did an internship at a psychoanalytically oriented hospital. Even then, Freud was being supplanted by more "modern" analytic approaches, like object relations and especially self psychology.

Today, even being a "psychodynamically oriented " therapist can feel like an anachronism!

Your book sounds wonderful.

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Freud on Trial

Blair thanks for your comment. One small repercussion was the New Yorker Book Bench blog just ran a piece yesterday on the panel called Bossing Freud Around. You can get it on google. It doesn't really deal with the issues in depth but at the Seattle Conference run by the International Forum for Psycoanalytic Education, (an alternative analytic group with a couple of hundred members)when I gave a similar presentation for a panel on Vienna Triangle they treated my book as if it were a re-write of history. I called my panel Cover up on the Couch and whereas at the Austrian Forum I was careful not to say my view was fact, in Seattle I said openly I thought something pretty much like what I described had actually happened.So yes, people are still debating these things often with considerable passion.

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Truth, Memory and Art

The interest in a fresh look at Freud and his legacy continues. My co-author and I have just been invited to present a scene from our Freud play at a conference on Memory Art and Truth at the University of North Carolina. Pulitzer winning playwright Suzan-Lore Parks will be giving one of the keynotes and there will be a performance of Bill T Jones Serenade/Proposition.
I'll keep you posted.