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Beyond the Chains of Illusion: My Encounter with Marx and Freud [Hardcover]

Marx Karl
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Book Description

First published in 1962, at the same time as Marx's Concept of Man, Beyond the Chains of Illusion is Erich Fromm's personal reflection on the overarching influence of Freud and Marx on his own life work. Deeply troubled by questions of individual and social responsibilities, Fromm began his studies of these two giants - who, ironically, are ever more related to 'the past' even as they are ever more intensely scrutinized today - at an early age. Fromm first establishes a common ground between Marx and Freud. He then proceeds to a unique and brilliant analysis of Freudian and Marxist theory. Throughout, Fromm shows how a sound understanding of both the father of modern psychotherapy and the father of 20th-century communism can lead to a single body of knowledge. His book has the quality of good literature, it is news that stays news and thereby sheds light on Erich Fromm's thinking during a seminal period of his life.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671085352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671085353
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,903,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. His books Fear and Freedom (1941) and The Art of Loving (1956) made him known throughout the world as a psychoanalyst and social psychologist. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crowning achievement of Eric Fromm 27 Sep 2008
By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Eric Fromm, the once popular psycho-analyst and Freudian Marxist author of classics like The Free of Freedom, The Sane Society and The Art of Loving is only just really entering into print once more.

While Fromm has written books specifically about Freud (Freud: The Greatness and Limitations of his thought) and Marx (Marx's Theory of Man), here in a single text, which I do not hesitate to call his crowning achievement Fromm introduces what he considers to be the essential thinking of each and describes their influence. It is in some ways semi-autobiographical but its aim is also to present these vital ideas to the public, professional and academic audience who formed Fromm's readership.

While it is in some ways more difficult or technical reading than the popular classic The Art of Loving, it isnt more difficult than The Fear of Freedom, Man For Himself or The Sane Society as it deals with psycho-analytical characterology and Fromm's ideas about Marx's theories of human nature and its frustration. As with all his books Fromm's prose is great and despite being dense there's a really tangible energy or passion throughout, its easy to see that Fromm is compelled to write and write from the heart. This book is a literary-theoretical book and not wholly technical like The Art of Listening, which I suspect was intended as a training manual for therapists.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss it at your own risk! 4 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Sorry if the summary sounds really gimmicky and silly, but that's really what I think. I'm a postgrad psychology student and I just love this book (in fact I'm rather a Fromm's fan, but that does not mean my judgement is somehow biased...). You 'think' you can 'think'? Well, do 'think' again. Read this book and it will certainly broaden your view about everything. Particularly those who need to be analytic and judgemental...
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FROMM'S "INTELLECTUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY 30 May 2013
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Dogma of Christ & Other Essays on Religi, The Revolution of Hope | Toward a Humanized Technology, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc.

He wrote in the first chapter of this 1962 book, "Since the purpose of this book is by no means that of a historical, but rather that of an intellectual autobiography, I shall try to pick out a few experiences during my adolescence which led to my later interest in the theories of Freud and of Marx, and the relation between the two." (Pg. 3) [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 182-page 1962 Simon & Schuster paperback edition.]

He suggests that Freud "saw how unreal most of what we think about ourselves is, how we deceive ourselves continuously about ourselves and about others... Freud recognized that most of what is real within ourselves is not conscious, and most of what is conscious is not real. This devotion to the search for inner reality opened up a new dimension of truth." (Pg. 89) He observes, "If an essential part of intelligence consists in the ability to make connections between factors which so far have not been seen as being related, the person who sticks to the cliche and to convention will not dare to recognize such connections; the person who is afraid of being different will not dare to recognize fictions for what they are, and hence will be greatly impeded from uncovering reality." (Pg. 154)

He argues, "If there is anything to be taken seriously in our profession of God, it is to recognize the fact that God has become an idol. Not an idol of wood or stone... but an idol of words, phrases, doctrines. We violate at every moment the command not to use God's name in vain, which means using his name emptily... Is there any reality in it, except that words are uttered? Obviously I am speaking here about an experience which should constitute the reality behind the words. What is this experience? It is recognizing oneself as part of humanity, of living according to a set of values in which the full experience of love, justice, truth, is the dominent goal of life... to see one's identity with all beings, and to give up the illusion fo a separate, indestructible ego." (Pg. 155-156) He concludes, "I believe in the perfectibility of man, but I doubt whether he will achieve this goal, unless he awakens soon." (Pg. 182)

Fans of Fromm's other books will enjoy his "personal" glimpses, as well as the development of his ideas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fromm as teacher 27 Feb 2013
By michal eliav - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
us beginning students need all the help we can get. erich fromm is an ideal guide - in this book he explains the central themes of both marx and freud. with clarity and commitment.
5.0 out of 5 stars FROMM'S "INTELLECTUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY 30 May 2013
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Dogma of Christ & Other Essays on Religi, The Revolution of Hope | Toward a Humanized Technology, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc.

He wrote in the first chapter of this 1962 book, "Since the purpose of this book is by no means that of a historical, but rather that of an intellectual autobiography, I shall try to pick out a few experiences during my adolescence which led to my later interest in the theories of Freud and of Marx, and the relation between the two." (Pg. 3) [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 182-page 1962 Simon & Schuster paperback edition.]

He suggests that Freud "saw how unreal most of what we think about ourselves is, how we deceive ourselves continuously about ourselves and about others... Freud recognized that most of what is real within ourselves is not conscious, and most of what is conscious is not real. This devotion to the search for inner reality opened up a new dimension of truth." (Pg. 89) He observes, "If an essential part of intelligence consists in the ability to make connections between factors which so far have not been seen as being related, the person who sticks to the cliche and to convention will not dare to recognize such connections; the person who is afraid of being different will not dare to recognize fictions for what they are, and hence will be greatly impeded from uncovering reality." (Pg. 154)

He argues, "If there is anything to be taken seriously in our profession of God, it is to recognize the fact that God has become an idol. Not an idol of wood or stone... but an idol of words, phrases, doctrines. We violate at every moment the command not to use God's name in vain, which means using his name emptily... Is there any reality in it, except that words are uttered? Obviously I am speaking here about an experience which should constitute the reality behind the words. What is this experience? It is recognizing oneself as part of humanity, of living according to a set of values in which the full experience of love, justice, truth, is the dominent goal of life... to see one's identity with all beings, and to give up the illusion fo a separate, indestructible ego." (Pg. 155-156) He concludes, "I believe in the perfectibility of man, but I doubt whether he will achieve this goal, unless he awakens soon." (Pg. 182)

Fans of Fromm's other books will enjoy his "personal" glimpses, as well as the development of his ideas.
5.0 out of 5 stars FROMM'S "INTELLECTUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY 30 May 2013
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Dogma of Christ & Other Essays on Religi, The Revolution of Hope | Toward a Humanized Technology, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc.

He wrote in the first chapter of this 1962 book, "Since the purpose of this book is by no means that of a historical, but rather that of an intellectual autobiography, I shall try to pick out a few experiences during my adolescence which led to my later interest in the theories of Freud and of Marx, and the relation between the two." (Pg. 3) [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 182-page 1962 Simon & Schuster paperback edition.]

He suggests that Freud "saw how unreal most of what we think about ourselves is, how we deceive ourselves continuously about ourselves and about others... Freud recognized that most of what is real within ourselves is not conscious, and most of what is conscious is not real. This devotion to the search for inner reality opened up a new dimension of truth." (Pg. 89) He observes, "If an essential part of intelligence consists in the ability to make connections between factors which so far have not been seen as being related, the person who sticks to the cliche and to convention will not dare to recognize such connections; the person who is afraid of being different will not dare to recognize fictions for what they are, and hence will be greatly impeded from uncovering reality." (Pg. 154)

He argues, "If there is anything to be taken seriously in our profession of God, it is to recognize the fact that God has become an idol. Not an idol of wood or stone... but an idol of words, phrases, doctrines. We violate at every moment the command not to use God's name in vain, which means using his name emptily... Is there any reality in it, except that words are uttered? Obviously I am speaking here about an experience which should constitute the reality behind the words. What is this experience? It is recognizing oneself as part of humanity, of living according to a set of values in which the full experience of love, justice, truth, is the dominent goal of life... to see one's identity with all beings, and to give up the illusion fo a separate, indestructible ego." (Pg. 155-156) He concludes, "I believe in the perfectibility of man, but I doubt whether he will achieve this goal, unless he awakens soon." (Pg. 182)

Fans of Fromm's other books will enjoy his "personal" glimpses, as well as the development of his ideas.
5.0 out of 5 stars FROMM'S "INTELLECTUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY" 30 May 2013
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Dogma of Christ & Other Essays on Religi, The Revolution of Hope, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc.

He wrote in the first chapter of this 1962 book, "Since the purpose of this book is by no means that of a historical, but rather that of an intellectual autobiography, I shall try to pick out a few experiences during my adolescence which led to my later interest in the theories of Freud and of Marx, and the relation between the two." (Pg. 3) [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 182-page 1962 Simon & Schuster paperback edition.]

He suggests that Freud "saw how unreal most of what we think about ourselves is, how we deceive ourselves continuously about ourselves and about others... Freud recognized that most of what is real within ourselves is not conscious, and most of what is conscious is not real. This devotion to the search for inner reality opened up a new dimension of truth." (Pg. 89) He observes, "If an essential part of intelligence consists in the ability to make connections between factors which so far have not been seen as being related, the person who sticks to the cliche and to convention will not dare to recognize such connections; the person who is afraid of being different will not dare to recognize fictions for what they are, and hence will be greatly impeded from uncovering reality." (Pg. 154)

He argues, "If there is anything to be taken seriously in our profession of God, it is to recognize the fact that God has become an idol. Not an idol of wood or stone... but an idol of words, phrases, doctrines. We violate at every moment the command not to use God's name in vain, which means using his name emptily... Is there any reality in it, except that words are uttered? Obviously I am speaking here about an experience which should constitute the reality behind the words. What is this experience? It is recognizing oneself as part of humanity, of living according to a set of values in which the full experience of love, justice, truth, is the dominent goal of life... to see one's identity with all beings, and to give up the illusion fo a separate, indestructible ego." (Pg. 155-156) He concludes, "I believe in the perfectibility of man, but I doubt whether he will achieve this goal, unless he awakens soon." (Pg. 182)

Fans of Fromm's other books will enjoy his "personal" glimpses, as well as the development of his ideas.
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