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Badcock, C.R. (1984). Freud and the Culture of Psychoanalysis: By Steven Marcus. London: Allen & Unwin. 1984. Pp. 268.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:499-500.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:499-500

Freud and the Culture of Psychoanalysis: By Steven Marcus. London: Allen & Unwin. 1984. Pp. 268.

Review by:
C. R. Badcock

According to the dust-jacket, Steven Marcus is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and an Honorary Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. The book is sub-titled 'Studies in the Transition from Victorian Humanism to Modernity', and both this, the layout in eight chapters and the blurb on the dust-jacket give the impression that here we have something of a monograph, with a single, central theme and a clear, unifying line of argument.

In reality, we have no such thing. In fact, the book is a collection of reviews and literary studies of other works whose only central theme is that they have something to do with psychoanalysis or with the Victorian period.

Chapter One, entitled 'The Origins of Psychoanalysis Revisited', is exactly what it says it is: a commentary on the published Fliess correspondence and, along with Chapter Two, on Freud's 'Three essays on the theory of sexuality', constitutes something of a basic introduction to Freud. As elsewhere in the book, there is no evidence of primary research beyond what one would expect of conventional literary criticism, but this should not be taken to mean that the treatment necessarily lacks originality. The intuitions of the critic sometimes touch on ignored factors, such as when he declares that 'Freud's intellectual commitment and adherence to the idea of science has a profoundly moral component to it' (p. 11), or elsewhere they touch on original insights, as when he persuasively argues that 'the Three Essays is Freud's most truly Darwinian work' (p.

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