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Freud's Women [Paperback]

Lisa Appignanesi , John Forrester
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Nov 2001
Sigmund Freud's ideas permeate our everyday thinking about life, love, gender, the family, and the relation between the sexes. These ideas took on their shape and substance in the same period that "the woman question" became a burning issue. Sometimes championed as a liberator of women, Freud has also been virulently attacked for his theories of the feminine and for elevating his personal prejudices to the height of universal pronouncement.

Freud's Women examines biography, case history, dreams, correspondence, journals, and theory to chart Freud's views on femininity. It also tells the many stories of Freud's women and explores their influence on him and his on them: dutiful daughter Anna, who carried on his work; the novelist and turn-of-the-century femme fatale, Lou Salomete Marie Bonaparte, who mixed royalty and perversity with effortless ease and became the head of the French psychoanalytic movement; the early hysterics who were the cornerstone of psychoanalysis--all these and more emerge vividly from the pages of this important study as it assesses Freud's contemporary legacy.


Product details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press LLC; New ed of 2 Revised ed edition (30 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892746948
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892746948
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,046,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

First published in 1992, Freud's Women quickly established itself as an invaluable study of the women who peopled Freud's world--women who, as relatives and friends, patients and disciples, helped him to found the new discipline of psychoanalysis. Lisa Appignanesi and John Forrester tell a fascinating and complicated story with great flair: Freud's Women is as scholarly as it is readable, moving between biography and theory to chart the intellectual history of psychoanalysis.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A groundbreaking book which explores the impact of women on the development of Freud's ideas. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb history of Freud & "his women" 12 July 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very well researched & written account of Freud through the lives and times of "his women". They're all here. His mother, his wife, his famous hysterical patients from Anna O onwards, his powerful collaborators - Marie Bonaparte, Lou Andreas-Salome, and ending with Freud's "Antigone" - his daughter Anna, who consolidated his work and nurtured his legacy. By concentrating on Freud's Women, Appignanesi & Forrester have found an ingenious way of putting Freud into his social context in Vienna, and highlighting the issue of whether patriarchal (phallocentric) values are implicit in Freudian psychoanalysis. The research is fascinating (including lots of insights into the after-lives of the famous patients), and it's written in a lively and stylish manner, without a whiff of jargon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive. 8 May 2012
By KAW
Format:Paperback
A very comprehensive study of the women in Freud's life and the affect of his theories on what it means to be female.
A lot of detail on his patients who went on to become analysts. I would have liked to have read more about his mother and sisters but I expect that the authors did their best with the material that was available to them. I felt like I knew a lot about Freud's daughter Anna by the end of the book but that his wife remained an enigma. I also felt that for a book that was openly exploring Freud's psychosexual theories there was a certain caginess about Freud's own private life and sexuality, I wasn't sure if he had affairs with his women friends or not, that aspect of his life and practice was protectively never addressed.
I prefered the biographical section of the book. I found the last chapters, that dealt with Freud's theories of femininity, too detailed and a bit repetitive. I got a bit fed up with the clitoris versus vagina debate, the same with penis envy and how various groups have viewed it. It was important to hear the arguments but for me there was too much detail.
Overall I felt that the book evoked the lives and times of this remarkable set of people very well. I admired their dedicated striving to understand the psyche. Some of the theories may seem outdated, some even comical. I would love to see Lou Andreas-Salome's drama The Devil and his Grandmother about "..a mischievous excremental devil who lives in his own grandmother's bottom.."! It seemed to me that what most of these women envied about men was not their penises but their education and the opportunity to make a difference in the world, for some psychoanalysis and their relationship with Freud gave them this opportunity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhaustive, in-depth look at the women involved 11 May 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Collaboratively written by Lisa Appignanesi and John Forrester, Freud's Women: Family, Patients, Followers is an exhaustive, in-depth look at the women involved in the life and work of Sigmund Freud, who is often thought of as the father of modern psychology. Freud's many female patients, followers, and family members are surveyed and discussed in an informative blend of biography, history, and study of the founding of psychoanalysis. An exhaustively researched and detailed book, Freud's Women is very highly recommended for the History of Psychoanalysis academic reference collections, and Freudian Psychology supplement reading lists.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Family Romance 14 Jun 2012
By Mary E. Sibley - Published on Amazon.com
When his mother died at age ninety-five, Sigmund Freud confessed he felt freer. Sigi had a nurse but she disappeared, arrested for theft. For Freud the theme of the two mothers, appearing in Leonardo DaVinci's story for one, is a matter of interest. Sigmund Freud had one surviving brother and five sisters. He had two half-brothers, Philipp and Emanuel, a generation older. His sister Anna married Eli Bernays, Sigmund's future wife's older brother. Sisters Rosa, Mitzi, and Pauli married and were widowed. Dolfi remained unmarried. The young Freud was abstemious, repressed. There was a long engagement of Sigmund and Martha Bernays, 1882-1886. The obstacle to marriage was money. Freud opened his practice on Easter Day, 1886. The couple lived together for fifty-three years. There was a pattern of authority and submission, but Martha had her way within the household. There was an agreed upon division of labor. Martha was independently minded, indifferent to Freud's coercive entreaties. The children Mathilde, Martin, Oliver, Ernst, Sophie, and Anna were born in an eight year period. Minna Bernays, Martha's sister, moved into the household permanently in 1896. Sigmund and Minna got on very well. Minna shared Freud's intellectual interests and his tastes for exotic travel.

Freud's friendships with men, Jung, Breuer, Fliess, Adler, Rank, and Ferenczi ended in bitterness. His friendships with women did not terminate in such a manner. Charcot's theories were produced when he was a physician at Salpetriere from the 1850's to the 1880's. Charcot used hypnosis. Charcot died in 1893. Within ten years of his death, his pupils rejected the diagnosis of hysteria. (It is possible psychoanalysis killed off hysteria, a process of psychological gentrification.) Freud insisted psychoanalysis was discovered by Josef Breuer, ANNA O. Anna O. was Bertha Pappenheim. Bertha Pappenheim invented the talking cure. She called it chimney sweeping. In the 1880's she made a slow recovery. Another patient from whom arose theories expounded in STUDIES IN HYSTERIA was Anna von Lieben. Fanny Moser, another early patient, demonstrated the technique of free association. In the case of Ilona Weiss, Freud could show that the patient was implicated in the tangle of family disorders. She was not a mere victim of circumstances. A primal scene of psychoanalysis involves Emma Eckstein.

Emma Eckstein, a notable follower of Freud, began her involvement in the development of psychoanalysis as a patient of Freud. She became actively involved in her own treatment. Freud's debt to his female patients is clear in THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS. Ida Bauer was Freud's Dora. In 1902, partly through the efforts of two of his patients, Freud acquired the title of Professor. Psychoanalysis became fashionable. Women patients and women associates were major supporters of Freud. One is truck by the great amount of suffering the turn-of-the-century women endured. In other accounts of Freud's career, this aspect, the alleviation of suffering, is not brought home to the reader as forcefully.

Another aspect of this book is its thorough description of Freud's cutural circumstances and the importance of his social milieu to the practice of psychoanalysis. Further on in the book Marie Bonaparte, Lou Andreas-Salome, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Ruth Mack Brunswick, Helene Deutsch, and a number of other women who made contributions to the study and development of psychoanalysis are featured. The challenge of feminist theory and structuralism are dealt with near the end of this excellent survey of the contribution of women to Freud's project.
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