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Lehmann, H. (1984). Freud as a Writer: By Patrick Mahony. New York: International Universities Press. 1982. Pp. 227.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:242-243.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:242-243

Freud as a Writer: By Patrick Mahony. New York: International Universities Press. 1982. Pp. 227.

Review by:
Herbert Lehmann

The great compliment I wish to pay Professor Mahony, the author of this book, is my conviction that no one who has read his book will ever read Freud the same way again. The effect which reading the book had on me was surprising. I had expected to read an English Professor's expert analysis of Freud's literary style in the widest sense of the word. This expectation was quite fulfilled. In very readable form the author presents information about language in general, and about the art and craft of writing, which to the average analyst is not that familiar in spite of the fact that psychoanalysis and language are so closely interwoven. The surprise was the extent to which Professor Mahony educated me as a reader of Freud.

Chapter 1 contains a brief survey of other works on the subject of Freud as a writer, as the rare combination of scientist and literary artist. We are also presented with a capsule history of Freud's style from his earliest to his last writings. Chapter 2 offers the structural analyses of two sample texts, part 4 of Totem and Taboo and Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The choice of these two works is based on their seeming differences in style and hence readability. Anyone who has experienced the peculiar frustration of reading Beyond the Pleasure Principle will be compensated by the content of this chapter. Partly based on the work of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, the consideration of Beyond the Pleasure Principle not only as exposition but also as performance, acting or writing out, is so captivating that one wishes Derrida's work were more easily accessible in English.

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