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Young-Bruehl, E. (1999). Freud's Dora: A Psychoanalytic, Historical, and Textual Study: Patrick J. Mahoney New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, 192 pp., $23.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(4):1414-1417.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(4):1414-1417

Freud's Dora: A Psychoanalytic, Historical, and Textual Study: Patrick J. Mahoney New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, 192 pp., $23.50.

Review by:
Elisabeth Young-Bruehl

“Why, then, another study of Dora?” Patrick Mahoney asks pertinently in the preface to the latest in his highly regarded series of articles and books on Freud the writer—particularly, the writer of case studies. Although the Dora case has been pondered already by an army of scholars inside and outside of the psychoanalytic schools, it nonetheless deserves “even more attention,” Mahoney answers, because the case is “a paradigmatic historical record both of psychoanalysis and, more importantly, of contemporary culture.” Further, the case has a “panoramic scope coincident with human history itself, in that the treatment at Bergasse 19 was also a gender war engaging two subjects, woman and man.”

Having thus grandly announced his ambitions and justifications, Mahoney offers a book that is neither an exploration of contemporary culture in the medium of the Dora case nor a contribution to the history of gender war. Instead, it is a close reading of Freud's text, conducted with the scrupulous attention his readers have come to expect of him. Of the three projects in Mahoney's subtitle—“A Psychoanalytic, Historical, and Textual Study”—the middle one is the least satisfactorily carried out.

Mahoney's most interesting contributions are Textual. He reads Freud's German text and Strachey's English translation together, commenting on how Strachey washed out or made “scientific” or misrepresented many of Freud's most important metaphoric subtexts.

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