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Waddell, M. (1993). Psychoanalysis in its Cultural Context: Edited by Edward Timms & Ritchie Robertson. Austrian Studies III. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 1992. Pp. 209.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:1072-1077.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:1072-1077

Psychoanalysis in its Cultural Context: Edited by Edward Timms & Ritchie Robertson. Austrian Studies III. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 1992. Pp. 209.

Review by:
Margot Waddell

This is a specialist book for specialists—a collection of articles, review articles and shorter reviews on current research into the cultural traditions of the Hapsburg Empire and Austrian Republic. The editors' aim is to make this research available to an international readership.

Each volume of Austrian Studies has a particular focus. The first (1990) examines Vienna in 1900 in relation to philosophyFrom Altenberg to Wittgenstein; the second (1991), The Austrian Enlightement and its Aftermath. This third volume constitutes a collection of articles which, between them, address two interrelated, relatively neglected and extremely important areas: the contextualisation of psychoanalysis and its historiography.

My concern is with the response of the non-specialist: apart from the content of the individual pieces, what is the place of the larger enterprise in the 'world' of psychoanalysis? The editors' intention is to examine the spirit and the cultural context in which psychoanalysis was conceived. 'It is only by putting Freud back into context that it will be possible to appreciate precisely what he achieved' (p. ix). Assessing whether or not this claim is substantiated is the task of the reviewer.

The approach is a welcome one—part of the more general move towards academic effort being devoted to psychoanalysis on a new scale both inside and outside the community itself. A few representative examples of such a move would include the work of Peter Gay, Peter Fonagy, Riccardo Steiner, André Haynal (Psychoanalysis and the Sciences); Lisa Appignanesi & John Forrester (Freud's Women); Michael Rustin (The Good Society and the Inner World); Freud in Exile (ed.

[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.]

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