Freud: From Youthful Dream to Mid-Life Crisis

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9780898622935: Freud: From Youthful Dream to Mid-Life Crisis

Using revelations gained from recently published correspondence, this provocative biography sheds new light on current debates about Sigmund Freud's theories. The book demonstrates how giving up the seduction theory--that all neurosis results from the molestation of small children by their fathers--swept Freud into a mid-life crisis out of which he eventually fought his way through to the discovery of psychoanalysis. Examining the newly released, highly personal letters between Freud and his boyhood friend, Eduard Silberstein, along with the letters of his 20s to his fiancée, Martha Bernays, and those to the confidant during his mid-life transition, Wilhelm Fliess, this volume provides valuable insight into Freud's development--both as a man and as a thinker. Peter M. Newton captures the drama of Freud's first love and heartbreak, the defiant and complicated ambitions of Freud's later adolescence, and the historic creative accomplishment and personal reward of his mid-life transition.

Applying a theory of lives to this great, complex story, Newton charts the evolution of Freud's thought through a continuing sequence of developmental periods and tasks. He shows that contrary to accepted opinion, Freud dreamed of becoming not just a cloistered scientist, but a revolutionary healer as well. The author demonstrates that the two aspects of Freud's dream and of his identity--that of quiet scholar and revolutionary healer--warred for possession of Freud's soul throughout his entire life. Exploring the years of Freud's transition to middle age, the book also lays to rest Jeffrey Masson's widely trumpeted accusation that Freud gave up his seduction theory out of political expediency. From a close study of Freud's letters to Wilhelm Fliess, Newton shows that it was not a desire to placate the medical establishment, but the accumulating weight of Freud's own clinical experience, that dashed the seduction theory.

He then examines in-depth the mid-life crisis Freud suffered as a result of giving up the seduction theory. Without the theory, Freud felt he had no way to realize either the scientific or the clinical aspect of his dream. Newton's developmental approach to adulthood centers his account on questions such as: How, at the age of 41, if the dream to which Freud had devoted the first 20 years of his adult life was shattered, could he guide the next 20? How could he salvage, from the wreckage of his youth, the elements of a life worth living as a middle-aged man? And if he was neither a first-rate scientist nor an expert doctor, who was he?

A breakthrough study of developmental crisis and triumph, this volume will be welcomed by anyone who wishes to better understand one of the world's most important and influential thinkers. Freud: From Youthful Dream to Mid-Life Crisis also serves as a valuable text for undergraduate and graduate courses in human development, adult development, psychopathology, and personality, as well as courses on Freud and on developments in psychoanalytic institutes.

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About the Author:

Peter M. Newton is Professor of Psychology at The Wright Institute in Berkeley and in private practice. He was born in Oakland, California and educated at the University of Washington, Columbia, and Yale, where he subsequently taught. He is author of Freud: From Youthful Dream to Mid-Life Crisis and has written extensively in the areas of adult development and psychoanalytic treatment.

Review:

"...extraordinarily impressive....Rather than 'psychoanalyze' Freud, Newton applies a sophisticated contemporary model for understanding personality continuity and change in the adult years to the founder of psychoanalysis himself. The result is a remarkable resonance between the theory and Freud's life." --Dan P. McAdams, Journal of Adult Development

"...a book of great importance. In this volume Newton offers a penetrating reexamination of the origins of psychoanalysis as it took shape in the course of a series of adult developmental periods and transitions between periods of Freud's life. Newton's 'theory of lives' approach to biography provides an important lens through which to explore the data emerging from Freud's correspondences, a good deal of which has only recently become available for study. Thought-provoking critiques of the conventional wisdom regarding the meaning of a number of significant turning points in Freud's life are offered. In addition Newton presents convincing discussions of the relationship of these developmental 'crises' to Freud's major contributions to psychoanalysis. Newton's very fine biography of Freud represents a major new step in our understanding of the origins of psychoanalysis." --Thomas H. Ogden, M.D., Supervising and Training Analyst, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California

"Peter Newton's excellent intellectual biography of Freud's early-to-middle years captures the dramatic movement of a life, and the gradually deepening illumination of character that one ordinarily might look for in a novel. These qualities make his study of Freud sympathetic, original, and particularly engaging. It will be valuable to anyone interested in the man who determined much that we think about ourselves, as well as a good deal about how we think; but it should be said that in the tone and organization and choice of scenes from Freud's life, Newton has written a book with a life of its own." --Leonard Michaels, University of California, Berkeley

"Newton's biography is 'novelistic' in the best sense of the word. It is closer to the lived life than any biography of Freud so far and constitutes an important and original contribution to our understanding of Freud, of biography, and of adult development." --Daniel J. Levinson, Ph.D., Yale University

"The inevitable first question is whether the world needs yet another Freud biography. Has not the Fruedian corpse been thoroughly picked over by previous biographic scavengers? Somewhat to my surprise it turns out that another worthwhile telling of the Freud narrative is indeed possible.... The most distinctive feature of this Freud biography is that it is built around Daniel Levinson's (1978) adult developmental theories. Newton, who was a protegee of Levinson, argues that development does not stop at adolescence with biological maturity; rather it continues on in recognizable, definable segments throughout the life cycle. According to this view, psychoanalysis has been cramped in its understanding of adults by its adherence to a developmental theory limited to the first thirteen years of life. To prove his point Newton has selected none other than the founder of psychoanalysis, the creator of the child-fixated developmental theory, as his case study.....Newton's Freud surpasses the current standards - Jones and Gay - in its unvarnished, highly nuanced rendering of Freud during his youth to middle-age years.... Newton more than any Freud biographer to date has provided us with a credible Freud narrative based upon verifiable data and animated by an adult developmental perspective. I hope that we do not have to wait until Dr. Newton passes through his 60's to get our next installment, but if we do, the wait will be worth it." --Stephen Walrod, Ph.D., The Journal of the Northern California society for Psychoanalytic Psychology

"... lively and brilliant book....This exciting work should be read by those interested in Freud and psychoanalysis, at all levels of sophistication. General; upper-division undergraduate through professional." --R.H. Balsam, Yale University

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Peter M. Newton
Editorial: The Guilford Press (1994)
ISBN 10: 089862293X ISBN 13: 9780898622935
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Descripción The Guilford Press, 1994. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 089862293X

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Newton, Peter M.
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Newton Peter M.
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