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Roth, N. (1989). Freud: Appraisals and Reappraisals. Contributions to Freud Studies, Volume 1: Edited by Paul E. Stepansky, The Analytic Press, Hillsdale, N.J., 1986, xix+267 pp., $29.95.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 17(3):527-529.

(1989). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 17(3):527-529

Freud: Appraisals and Reappraisals. Contributions to Freud Studies, Volume 1: Edited by Paul E. Stepansky, The Analytic Press, Hillsdale, N.J., 1986, xix+267 pp., $29.95.

Review by:
Nathan Roth, M.D.

This is the first in a series of volumes devoted to Freud studies. If they all live up to the standards set by this first volume, then readers are in for a delightful experience.

The first article in the volume is Peter J. Swales's Freud, His Teacher, and the Birth of Psychoanalysis. Here he describes his investigation and research to discover the identity of the patient called, in the Studies on Hysteria, Frau Cäcilie M. In this remarkable piece of scholarly detective work, he finds that she was Anna von Lieben, a wealthy member of Viennese aristocracy, on whom Freud practiced not only hypnosis but also the first real piece of psychoanalytic work employing the method of psychoanalysis. Freud learned so much from her that he called her his teacher. He saw her twice a day for lengthy periods and Swales emphasizes the pecuniary value she had for Freud. By relating the details of her family life, and recording the emotional illness in the family, Swales makes the patient come alive in a way that could not be done in the Studies on Hysteria because of the necessity to maintain confidentiality. It is altogether a delightful article to read.

The second essay, by Edwin R. Wallace, IV, is entitled “Freud as Ethicist.” Wallace does not see too much to admire in Freud's ethical views. Does he interdict or does he remit?

From this brief survey … it is difficult to characterize [Freud's] thinking succinctly. There is a degree of waffling throughout. At times it appears that his ideas and opinions vacillate from year to year; indeed, he was capable of making highly remissive and highly interdictory statements literally back to back. I suspect that part of this ambivalence was determined, not merely by Freud's awareness of the cultural and psychological complexity of the problem, but by his own unresolved oedipal and sexual issues. In his personal sexual life … he was fairly puritanical. (pp. 108-109)

Then we are again exposed to a consideration of the much exercised problem of determinism or free will, in which Freud is seen to incline toward determinism while religious people generally put their trust in free will.

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