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As the authors point out at the beginning of this study, when it comes to the "woman question", history has often taken the form of a trial (of Freud, of psychoanalysis). This revised edition of the book stays with the four key themes used to organise the authors' discussion ("The Freud Family Romance", "Inventing Psychoanalysis", "A Woman's Profession", "The Question of Femininity"), concluding with a new "Summing Up" which takes up the recent "assaults" on Freud launched by, amongst others, Frederick Crews and Peter Swales. In the wake of the so-called "Memory Wars"--wars which reopened discussion about the origins of psychoanalysis at the same time as questioning Freud's views on the "reality" of child sexual abuse--the culture of psychoanalysis, its claims to individuality and privacy, have been increasingly under attack.
Against the commonplace that psychoanalysis--as both theory of mind and therapeutic practice--is "in crisis", Appignanesi and Forrester offer a balanced and intelligent account of the vicissitudes of Freud's theory of femininity and the different ways in which "his women"--from 'Dora' to Joan Riviere, from Lou Andreas-Salome to Helene Deutsch--have worked with, and against, that theory to support the insights of a remarkable discipline.--Vicky Lebeau