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Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Rudnytsky, P. (1991). The Riddle of Freud: Jewish Influences on his Theory of Female Sexuality, by Estelle Roith, London and New York: Tavistock Publications, 1987, 199 pages, pb £30, pb £12.99. Free Associations, 2(1):125-128.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(1):125-128

The Riddle of Freud: Jewish Influences on his Theory of Female Sexuality, by Estelle Roith, London and New York: Tavistock Publications, 1987, 199 pages, pb £30, pb £12.99

Review by:
Peter Rudnytsky

The ideal work of scholarship should contrive at once to engage the general reader and to enlighten the specialist in a given field. Estelle Roith's The Riddle of Freud is such a work, and it deserves to be read by all those seriously interested in the origins of psychoanalysis.

The aim of Roith's book is announced by the subtitle. Hers is fundamentally a biographical enquiry, which seeks to account for one of the most controversial aspects of Freud's thought — his theory of female sexuality — by relating it to a no less vexed feature of his life — his Jewishness. By the end, Roith has not only explored each of these complex subjects on its own but has also succeeded in her overarching aim of convincing the reader that there is indeed a profound connection between the two.

Roith first re-examines Freud's theory of female sexuality and lucidly traces the evolution of the concept of penis envy from its initially limited role in 1908 to the central importance it assumed in 1924.

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