Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To review the bibliography…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Demos, J. (1978). Oedipus and America: Historical Perspectives on the Reception of Psychoanalysis in the United States. Ann. Psychoanal., 6:23-39.

(1978). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 6:23-39

Oedipus and America: Historical Perspectives on the Reception of Psychoanalysis in the United States

John Demos

There is a famous remark attributed to Freud by Ernest Jones: “America is a mistake: a gigantic mistake, it is true, but nonetheless a mistake” (Jones, 1955, p. 60). Jones does not say when the remark was made, or in what specific context; however, Freud's skepticism about most things American is well known. It is tempting to think that the founder of psychoanalysis referred, perhaps just half-consciously, to the reception accorded his ideas in the early decades of this century. The issue, in that case, was the very success achieved by psychoanalysis in the United States—a success which seemed to Freud surprising, ill-founded, and in some ways quite unwelcome. Eager as he clearly was to associate himself with the finest traditions of scientific and humanitarian concern in Europe, he saw his ideas criticized or (worse) ignored by the great majority of his cultural peers. And yet, an ocean away, psychoanalysis was taking firm root in the shallow cultural soil of upstart, bourgeois America. There was indeed a “mistake” here—and of quite unsettling proportions.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.