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Mendell, D. (1983). Freud and Women: By Lucy Freeman and Herbert S. Strean, D.S.W. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1981. 238 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 52:113-116.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:113-116

Freud and Women: By Lucy Freeman and Herbert S. Strean, D.S.W. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1981. 238 pp.

Review by:
Dale Mendell

Freud and Women is an interestingly conceived book. It sets out to investigate the relationship between Freud and the women in his life—his female relatives, colleagues, and patients—in order to examine the ways in which his personal relations with women influenced his attitudes toward, treatment of, and theories about them. In their introduction, Freeman and Strean note that Freud has been both reviled for his denigrating attitude toward women and commended for his recognition of women's needs as sexual beings and for accepting them as psychoanalytic colleagues. In examining Freud's relations with women, the authors make a fair and objective assessment of his contributions in the sphere of femininity.

In general the book is carefully researched, achieves balance in its evaluation of Freud's attitudes toward women, and conveys the intrinsic fascination of its subject matter. However, the book attempts to address both a general and a professional audience. This is never an easy task, and in the present case one is occasionally surprised to find definitions of the most basic psychoanalytic ideas, such as free association, intermingled with sophisticated theoretical statements. Perhaps in part as a result of trying to write for a general audience, the writers too often adopt a startlingly journalistic stance (for instance, on page 52, "… [Freud] dreading he would emerge as a turned-on Oedipus overwhelmed by a sexy Amalie") or simplify concepts to the point of distorting them (for example, on page 125, "Freud was an Oedipal man …").

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