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Makari, G.J. (1998). The Seductions of History: Sexual Trauma in Freud's Theory and Historiography. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:857-869.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:857-869

The Seductions of History: Sexual Trauma in Freud's Theory and Historiography

George J. Makari

The rise of Freud's seduction theory can be illuminated by contextualising aspects of this theory with regard to nineteenth-century trauma theory, germ theory, degeneration theory and sexology. The author argues that Freud, by putting forth his seduction theory, defined himself within a number of registers that organised one's identity within the medical community in late nineteenth-century Vienna. Freud's first historical accounts of his rejection of the seduction theory also point to factors that were of great importance to his medical community, issues of epidemiology. However, in 1914 Freud wrote a different history of these events for a different community. No longer a doctor struggling for recognition from the Viennese medical establishment, Freud was now the leader of the psychoanalytic movement, writing a history of the movement with the defections of Adler and Jung in mind. Hence, the author argues that Freud's 1914 version of the fall of the seduction theory served to tie the rejection of the seduction theory to the acceptance of libido theory, a sexual libido theory that Adler and Jung had rebelled against.

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