Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To sort articles by source…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

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

Elliott, A. (1996). Adam Phillips, On Flirtation, Faber and Faber, £7.99. Free Associations, 6(2):310-313.

(1996). Free Associations, 6(2):310-313

Adam Phillips, On Flirtation, Faber and Faber, £7.99

Review by:
Anthony Elliott

The edifice of Freudianism, having revolutionised this troubled century's view of the life of the mind, has been subjected to a series of scorching attacks in recent times. According to many, whether academic theorists or newspaper commentators, Freud's concepts, conjectures, and pronouncements are dead at the core. Following fast on the heels of the global crash of Marxism, it seems that the contemporary era may also prove to be a twilight for that thing called the unconscious.

The current assault on Freud has taken two general directions. One is the presumed political irrelevance of psychoanalysis, especially its denial of the actuality of sexual violence and its animosity toward women and children. The other concerns the supposed scientific laxity of psychoanalytic theory and treatment.

The political dead-ends of Freud's legacy have been put most forcefully, and indeed unambiguously, by Jeffrey Masson, who in a series of influential books argues that issues of sexual abuse have been repressed in the Freudian world. So too, psychoanalytic claims to knowledge and understanding have come under fire, with Frederick Crews (a literary critic) and Adolf Grunbaum (a philosopher of science) the most prominent representatives of a cultural scepticism concerning the links between the retrieval of memory and personal well-being.

One of the most noticeable aspects of these debates, to my mind, has been their affected tone of high seriousness. It is as if this season of anti-Freudianism has only been able to proceed by trying to get right everything that Freud and his followers allegedly got wrong.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.