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Jones, K. (1967). The Psychoanalytic Revolution. Sigmund Freud's Life and Achievement: By Marthe Robert. Translated by Kenneth Morgan. (London: Allen & Unwin, 1967. Pp. 396. 50s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 48:471.
(1967). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 48:471
The Psychoanalytic Revolution. Sigmund Freud's Life and Achievement: By Marthe Robert. Translated by Kenneth Morgan. (London: Allen & Unwin, 1967. Pp. 396. 50s.)
Review by: Katherine Jones
This is an attractive, interesting and well-written book. In it Mme Robert traces Freud's development, his childhood, youth, and old age in a fair and even admiring manner. We are left in no doubt that here we have the history of a great man whose achievements, as is always the case with great achievements, were not easily obtained. His struggles, both with poverty and later on with opposition from enemies and even friends are outlined with sympathy and lucidity.
This is not the same as saying that Mme Robert's book gives us much that is new. She is greatly indebted to Ernest Jones and acknowledges this debt by forty-eight references to his name. She also quotes long passages from his book, and a number of letters which can be found in the same Biography. However, it is ten years since the last of the three volumes of the official Biography was finished, and so there is perhaps a case for a new book for a different class of readers. That this need was widely felt is borne out by the appearance in 1961 of the abridged edition of Jones's Biography and by the spate of books on Sigmund Freud for all conditions of people.
I was reminded of Goethe's aphorism that when everything has been thought of, the thing is to think it over again. This Mme Robert certainly does. Her recital of Freud's life is as interesting as it should be for all who admire the great man. She stops short of giving a characterization of his friends and followers, but might say that this is not within the scope of her book. She gives much intelligent thought to Freud's works and has done a good amount of rethinking in this respect. She also gives us excerpts and quotations from some of the letters that appeared after the official Biography was written, which are very welcome. There are quite a number of misspellings and other errors which I find irritating in the book, and it is to be hoped that these will be remedied for another edition.
For a public that does not venture into reading the three-volume, or even the abridged edition, of Jones's biography, or for her compatriots, Mme Robert's book must be very welcome. It is naturally of less importance for trained and practising analysts in this country; though nevertheless a very creditable achievement.
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