The Secret Ring: Freud's Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis

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9780224032278: The Secret Ring: Freud's Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis

In the spring of 1919, Sigmund Freud brought his closest colleagues - Ferenczl, Abraham, Rank, Sachs and Jones - together and gave them each a golden ring, symbolizing the formation of a new force in psycho-analysis and securing their undying loyalty to the Master. Freud called this group his "Secret Committee". This inner circle of men, given to bickering and infighting, helped Freud expel Carl Jung and was to set the ground rules of psycho-analysis for decades to come. The author examines the complexity of the relationships between these men, whose personal and professional lives were absolutely dominated by Freud. The author also wrote biographies of Havelock Ellis and Melanie Klein.

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About the Author:

Phyllis Grosskurth, author of highly praised biographies of Havelock Ellis and Melanie Klein, teaches at the University of Toronto.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Aided by previously undisclosed correspondence, Grosskurth (Havelock Ellis, 1980, etc.; Humanities and Psychoanalytic Thought/Univ. of Toronto) takes the story of the brilliant, wildly neurotic men who contrived to safeguard Freudian thought and turns it into an intriguing psychological saga-cum-tragicomedy of manners. The Secret Committee, conceived in 1912 as a united front against the apostasy of Carl Jung and sealed by Freud's bestowal of antique intaglios, became, notes Grosskurth, ``a metaphor for the psychoanalytic movement itself...a cult of personality'' with Freud acting as both ``guru'' and distant, demanding father. Avidly submitting one another (and assorted romantic interests) to frequently scathing and self-justifying formal and informal analyses, Austrians Otto Rank and Hans Sachs, Hungarian Sandor Ferenczi, German Karl Abraham, and Welshman Ernest Jones, joined later by Russian-born German Max Eitingon, functioned as ``surrogate sons'' within a strikingly dysfunctional family--marked by sabotage, manipulation, and ``aggressively infantile'' jostling. Treating her story as a study of group pathology, Grosskurth uses pointed quotes to show how all of her subjects, especially Freud, used jargon as a cover for real feeling. Sadder still was the adored Freud's puzzling lack of support (he refused to be ``burdened'' by the ideas of others) and human empathy (e.g., failing to comprehend the sensitive Ferenczi's sorrow at his mother's death). Inevitably, as Freud predicted in Totem and Taboo, the anointed sons went their own ways, with, ironically, Freud's biological child, Anna, emerging as his staunchest defender. More emotionally involving, though less theoretically acute, than Janet Sayers's study of the overlapping generation of women psychoanalysts (Mothers of Psychoanalysis--reviewed next issue), the work suffers from a curious reticence. Grosskurth avoids some potentially interesting paths (e.g., Freud's gelid relationship with his own sons) and develops her conclusions so carefully that they become anticlimactic. Nevertheless, a worthy stab at piercing the web of ``mythology, gossip, and rumor'' surrounding the early Freudians. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Phyllis Grosskurth
Editorial: Jonathan Cape Ltd (1991)
ISBN 10: 0224032275 ISBN 13: 9780224032278
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 1
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Descripción Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1991. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0224032275

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