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Simon, B. (1973). Freud: Living and Dying: By Max Schur. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1972. 587 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:451-457.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:451-457

Freud: Living and Dying: By Max Schur. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1972. 587 pp.

Review by:
Bennett Simon

The title of this large book suggests the difficulty of defining the scope of it. The author states that the approach and title of his earlier work, The Problem of Death in Freud's Writings and His Life, were too narrow for the present work. 'The problem of life and death cannot be separated. The wish to live and all the elements which sustain it, the fear of death, which can gradually change into acceptance, or even into a wish to die, the conflict and shifting balance of these opposing wishes are all part of human existence. My book will … deal with all these elements as they are reflected in the life of one man. However, the choice of material is highly selective, and many of Freud's works and events in his life are not discussed.' Schur emphasizes the fact that his book, 'although a biographical study, is not a full-scale biography' (p. 16).

I believe that the true theme of the book is the history and prehistory of Schur's relationship to Freud during his long and ultimately fatal illness. The last third of the work deals explicity with Freud's cancer and the surgery in 1923, and, from 1929 until Freud's death in 1939, Schur's relationship to Freud as his personal physician, admirer, disciple, colleague, and friend.

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