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J., E. (1924). Sigmund Freud: His Personality, his Teaching and his School: By Fritz Wittels. Translated from the German by Eden and Cedar Paul. (George Allen & Unwin, London. Pp. 287. Price 10 s. 6 d. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:481-486.

(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:481-486

Sigmund Freud: His Personality, his Teaching and his School: By Fritz Wittels. Translated from the German by Eden and Cedar Paul. (George Allen & Unwin, London. Pp. 287. Price 10 s. 6 d. net.) Related Papers

Review by:
E. J.

A foreign analyst, evidently wounded by the caricature of Freud depicted in this book, described it as 'another work of fiction by this ingenious novelist'. In my opinion, and apparently also in that of Freud's this is an unfair judgment. The virtues of the book are as manifest as its defects, and it is easy to point out the reasons for the latter. It is well and interestingly, even entertainingly, written, and it shows at least as much sincerity, capacity and fair-mindedness as one is accustomed to find in books on psycho-analysis written from the outside—though, it is true, this is notoriously not a particularly high standard of comparison. As I shall proceed to show, there are visible imperfections in respect of each of these three qualities, essential as they are for a work of this sort.

First of all, it must be said that the book fails in its main object, which presumably was to draw an approximately accurate picture of Freud's personality. To those who know Freud well the picture is simply unrecognizable; if it were not for the context one would not know that the personality presented was that of Freud. The perspective is out of focus on both sides. On the one hand, the most characteristic features of Freud's personality, both virtues and failings, are either not mentioned at all or are glossed over in such a general manner as to leave no clear impression. On the other hand, most of the features that are over and again brought into prominence throughout the book, such as his supposed intolerance and jealousy, are either tendencious exaggerations or incorrect inferences from facts fuller knowledge about which would lead to another interpretation.

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