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Tip: To review the bibliography…

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It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Akhtar, S. (1990). Freud without Hindsight: Reviews of his Work 1893–1939: Edited by Norman Kiell. Madison, CN: International Universities Press. 1988. Pp. 758.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 17:381-386.

(1990). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 17:381-386

Freud without Hindsight: Reviews of his Work 1893–1939: Edited by Norman Kiell. Madison, CN: International Universities Press. 1988. Pp. 758.

Review by:
Salman Akhtar

Freud never stops being fascinating. Reading his work in a chronological order, with attention to his subsequently added footnotes, is of course the 'royal road' to knowing his great mind and its evolution. A second avenue is constituted by his various biographers ranging from Jones' (1953–57) magisterial three volume set to the shorter, though more balanced, and eminently readable recent book by Peter Gay (1988). A third route which provides access to Freud's genius is his extensive correspondence with his colleagues, friends, pupils and relatives. Reading these letters offers a close glimpse of Freud's intellectual journey with all its personal struggles, keen observations, doubts, uncertainties, aspirations, ideals and hard-won insights. A fourth source, which puts one close to Freud the clinician, is the published accounts of those who were analysed by the master himself. Yet another road to Freud is the endearing recollections of him by his own children.

To this array of avenues leading to understanding Freud, Norman Kiell's Freud Without Hindsight adds still another. Kiell's book is a collection of reviews of Freud's works as they appeared during his lifetime. It allows us to see how Freud's contemporaries viewed his work over the years during which his influence on psychiatry, medicine and culture steadily grew but was nowhere near its present-day pre-eminence. The long span of time it covers, the chronological arrangement of material, the inclusion of Freud's own comments about his work and its reviews, and the glistening historical nuances that Kiell sprinkles throughout the book, all facilitate the reader's experience of travelling through time and partaking in the intellectual climate in which Freud lived and developed his ideas.

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