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Wolfenstein, E.V. (1983). Soundings. Psychohistorical and Psycholiterary: By Rudolph Binion. New York: The Psychohistory Press, 1981. 164 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 52:464-469.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:464-469

Soundings. Psychohistorical and Psycholiterary: By Rudolph Binion. New York: The Psychohistory Press, 1981. 164 pp.

Review by:
Eugene Victor Wolfenstein

This volume contains six essays, written between 1959 and 1978 on the following topics: Kafka's The Metamorphosis; King Leopold III and Belgian neutrality prior to World War II; the deaths of Ludwig II of Bavaria, Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary (at Mayerling), and Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary (at Sarajevo); Hitler's policy of eastward expansion; doing psychohistory; and several Pirandello plays, most notably, Six Characters in Search of an Author. In the publisher's and, I gather, Binion's opinion, the essays "retrace the author's development in historical and literary scholarship from applied Freudianism to direct psychohistorical inquiry unencumbered by clinical models." In my own judgment, Binion takes one step forward, two steps back.

The Kafka essay appears to be an exercise in "applied Freudianism."

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