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Lowenfeld, Y. (1960). Sigmund Freud's Mission. An Analysis of his Personality and Influence: By Erich Fromm. New York: Harper & Bros., 1959. 120 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 29:252-254.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:252-254

Sigmund Freud's Mission. An Analysis of his Personality and Influence: By Erich Fromm. New York: Harper & Bros., 1959. 120 pp.

Review by:
Yela Lowenfeld

Fromm has written this book on the assumption that understanding and analyzing the creator of psychoanalysis will throw true light on 'its achievements and defects'. He feels the time has come for an 'objective' biography of Freud. He considers Jones's three volumes to be an idolizing, naïve document by a disciple who could not bear to face negative, undesirable qualities in his master.

In contrast to Jones's biographical method of eliciting Freud's personality from his work and letters, Fromm abuses such material to advance his personal theory about Freud and his mission.

The ten chapters of the book contradict one another. When the facts do not agree and truth cannot be distorted to accord with his theory, Fromm reaches for the unconscious and resorts to speculation and interpretation. By abusing the tools of analysis, he manages in one paragraph to prove that Freud was helpless and overdependent; in the next that he is provokingly authoritarian. He charges him both with passionate love and inability to love.

Fromm's undynamic approach, compounded with 'wild analysis', reveals little about Freud but a great deal about this interpreter. To Fromm, Freud's statement, 'My character is little suited to the role of a protected child. I have always entertained a strong desire to be a strong man myself', is proof of Freud's repressed and unresolved oral dependence on his mother. Freud's relationships with Breuer, Fliess, Adler, Jung, Ferenczi are all dependencies on the mother, displaced to men.

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