Freud’s Clay Feet

Frederick Crews has a loyalty of preoccupation rare in a literary academic. His attacks on Sigmund Freud began way back in the mid-1970s with his publicly proclaimed conversion away from the Freudian literary criticism he practiced at the time. His new biography, Freud: The Making of an Illusion, damning and mesmerizing by turns, is about the young Freud. It marks the zenith of what has become Crews’s crusade “to put an end to the myth of psychoanalysis and its creator” by stripping Freud of both his empiricist credentials and the image of a “lone explorer possessing courageous perseverance, deductive brilliance, tragic insight, and healing power.” The idealization of Freud the man that Crews is so keen to prove a blinding illusion is hardly prevalent.

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