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Subrin, M. (1989). Freud and the Imaginative World: By Harry Trosman, M.D. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1985. 233 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:140-145.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:140-145

Freud and the Imaginative World: By Harry Trosman, M.D. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1985. 233 pp.

Review by:
Mayer Subrin

Large in scope, this slender volume attempts to encompass within its sweep cultural influences on Freud, the creator of psychoanalysis, and Freud's influence on thinking about high culture through ideas developed in the course of his work. Included is an examination of the nature of artistic and scientific creativity itself. The work presents a distillation of Trosman's immersion in the wellsprings of psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline and the application of his findings to our understanding of art. Following Freud, Trosman hopes his exploration into art will lead to further advances in psychoanalysis as a science. He writes in the preface: "In examining Freud's major theoretical and clinical writings, I look to their literary yield… His literary writings … are scanned for their clinical or theoretical formulations and their contributions to psychoanalysis as a science" (p. xi).

The opening essay, "Freud and the Formative Culture," is the keystone of Trosman's structure. Originally published in 1973, in Volume 1 of the Annual of Psychoanalysis, it remains essentially unchanged for this publication. Trosman searches out the sources and routes of the significant influences on Freud's thinking as psychoanalysis evolved in his mind: Romanticism as current thought, life and politics in nineteenth century Vienna, the Jewish tradition, and Freud's classical education.

Influenced initially by David Beres's paper, "Psychoanalysis, Science and Romanticism," Trosman is convinced that Romanticism was a significant intellectual orientation affecting Freud's scientific thinking.

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