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Roith, E. (1991). Freud in Exile: Psychoanalysis and Its Vicissitudes, by Edward Timms and Naomi Segal New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1988, 320 pages, hb £29. Free Associations, 2(3):447-457.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(3):447-457

Freud in Exile: Psychoanalysis and Its Vicissitudes, by Edward Timms and Naomi Segal New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1988, 320 pages, hb £29

Review by:
Estelle Roith

This book consists of twenty-three papers first delivered at a symposium in London in October 1986. They were published in revised form to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Freud's arrival in London. The papers follow the evolution of psychoanalysis from its origins in late nineteenth-century Viennese culture, with the early studies by Freud and Wilhelm Fliess in sexuality and psycho-pathology, to its development into a system of thought which, as Ernest Gellner observes, has made an ‘astonishing conquest of our thought and language’. The range of disciplines represented here certainly confirms this view. There are contributions from the philosophy of science, literature, social anthropology, German studies, medicine, psychiatry and psychology, as well as psychoanalysis.

I have focused mainly on one paper from each of the four sections while drawing much more briefly on several others. I have thus had to neglect much that is interesting and valuable. My choice however was determined on the highly subjective basis of what best conveyed to me — directly or indirectly — the flavour and quality of exile, that of Freud and of psychoanalysis. The subtitle of this book rightly equates the two, an equation most directly drawn by Sander Gilman in his account of the origins of psychoanalysis in Chapter One (Part One: Origins).

With impressive scholarship, Gilman shows us the peculiar significance of Freud's decision to focus on the study of sexual psychopathology and how the rationale for that decision was rooted in the Jewish psychological, social and cultural experience in eastern and central Europe.

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