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Neubauer, P.B. (1993). Freud at the Crossroads: By Alexander Grinstein. Madison, CT.: Int. Univ. Press, 1990, 612 pp., $35.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:819-821.
(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:819-821
Freud at the Crossroads: By Alexander Grinstein. Madison, CT.: Int. Univ. Press, 1990, 612 pp., $35.00.
Review by: Peter B. Neubauer, M.D.
With this book, Freud at the Crossroads, Grinstein continues his thoughtful exploration of Freud's early contributions. He covers here the years 1892–1906, a time when Freud's scientific, professional, and inner life led him in new directions. Grinstein pursues an original approach to profile for us Freud's painful struggle and the mapping of new territories.
Just before I received this book, I had read A Moment of Transition by Mark Solms and Michael Saling which addressed itself to about the same period of Freud's life, and the authors and editors translated into English Aphasie and Gehirn written in 1888. In the excellent Foreword by Mortimer Ostow, he states: "… [they] have provided a thoroughgoing discussion of the origin of these pre-analytical articles, what they reveal to us about the scientific climate in which Freud worked, how his work and ideas related to those of his contemporaries, and how they can be seen as steps on the road to the discipline of psychoanalysis" (p. vii) and that the "transition from neuroanatomy to psychic phenomena was not a smooth one." A Moment of Transition examines the history of the evolvement of the science of psychoanalysis at that time and the logic of theory formation; it reveals Freud's relentless search for new concepts to explain mental function, his renunciation and disengagement from those data from neuroanatomy and physiology available at that time, in order to establish psychoanalysis.
I refer to it for I wish to profile more sharply that Grinstein, in his book, has a very different aim. He brings together those elements which give us insight into Freud's inner life as he had to face his conflicts at the crossroads. Grinstein sees this struggle to be one of many interesting crossroads, as he pursues the formation of friendships and the confrontation with antagonists, the professional ambitions and aspiration at the moment of revolutionary discoveries.
The book is divided into two parts. The first follows primarily Freud's relationship with Wilhelm Fliess, by exposing his oedipal conflicts, his overidealization of his friend, and his pain in resolving this relationship. The second part studies the ten books which Freud has proposed as his "good books" in response to the publisher, Hugo Heller.
Grinstein carefully documents the linkage between Freud's inner life and external events.
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