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Glenn, J. (1998). Freud's Dora. A Psychoanalytic, Historical, and Textual Study. By Patrick J. Mahony. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1996. 170 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 67(3):507-509.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(3):507-509

Freud's Dora. A Psychoanalytic, Historical, and Textual Study. By Patrick J. Mahony. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1996. 170 pp.

Review by:
Jules Glenn

Freud's Dora is a compact powerhouse. Patrick J. Mahony packs into a mere 153 pages the story of Dora's history and of her analysis, and includes corrections of errors in data and translation. He elucidates Dora's background and casts light on the psychodynamics of both patient and doctor. He makes an exciting and tantalizing story even more delightful.

Mahony does not pull punches. He criticizes Freud for his formulations, his technique, the trauma he inflicted on his analysand, and the masculine outlook he imposed on the case. He notes Freud's inconsistencies and errors. He ferrets out Freud's countertransferences and blind spots and their malignant effects.

The readers know the story. Dora was a pawn in the hands of her father, who gave her to Herr K. so that he could have an affair with Frau K. Herr K. in turn molested Dora when she was thirteen (not fourteen, as Freud had said) and he continued his seductive behavior after that. When Dora protested, her father turned her over to Freud to “bring her to her senses.” In this corrupt milieu, Dora developed symptoms which expressed her hostile and sexual wishes and also contained defenses against her urges.


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