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Gilberg, A.L. (1992). The Freudians: A Comparative Perspective: By Edith Kurzweil. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 1989, 371 pp., 35.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:928-932.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:928-932

The Freudians: A Comparative Perspective: By Edith Kurzweil. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 1989, 371 pp., 35.00.

Review by:
Arnold L. Gilberg, M.D.

"Each country increasingly evolves its own Freud," writes Edith Kurzweil as the conclusion of her book The Freudians, which explores the myriad interpretations and applications of the original writings in terms of the cultures that cradled their evolution. The purpose of the book, she admits, is not to present a "new psychoanalytic or historical view," despite the fact that she has chosen the most important episodes in the history of psychoanalysis to highlight the cultural differences in its reception and application. Her task, rather, is to present a "map of the landscape."

Kurzweil's approach to this cartography is global as she attempts to encompass everything Freudian. It is a demanding undertaking but one for which Kurzweil, a sociologist and not a Freudian by training, is well suited. Born in Vienna, schooled in Belgium and America before moving to Milan for a period of time, Kurzweil is herself quadrilingual. Her coverage extends from the earliest writings of Freud and the Wednesday night meetings at his home, through the major developments and schisms in the psychoanalytic world before World War II and on up to the most recent developments in psychoanalytic theorizing. This is followed by an overview of the differing approaches each culture chose in its elaboration of psychoanalytic concepts as functions of that society's intellectual and political issues.

In a book with little more than three hundred pages to encompass a subject this encyclopedic, the author tends, perforce, to gloss over this welter of approaches and developments.

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