Cassandra's Daughter: A History of Psychoanalysis

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9780140298598: Cassandra's Daughter: A History of Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is arguably the most important intellectual development of the twentieth century; words like repressed, neurotic, ego, and paranoid are now part of our everyday vernacular. In Cassandra's Daughter, Joseph Schwartz presents the history of psychoanalysis from its origins in the nineteenth-century to the present day. Schwartz explains the pre-Freudian approaches to mental illness, Freud's own theories, and the controversies provoked by Freudian thought in the analytic community. He then focuses on Freud's colleagues, rivals, successors, and detractors including Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Harry Stack Sullivan, Melanie Klein, and Erich Fromm. Schwartz contextualizes rival schools and interpretations as well as probing the relationship between psychoanalysis, physics, and biology, while debunking the criticism that psychoanalysis is not a legitimate science.

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About the Author:

Joseph Schwartz is a psychotherapist and writer. He has held appointments in physics and in psychiatry at Columbia and the City University of New York. He has had a clinical practice in psychotherapy in London.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An odd history of the field from its Freudian roots through the latest feminist revisions. Schwartz admits that his is an idiosyncratic sort of history: I have been continuously shocked to find how much I was leaving out, he notes toward the end. Schwartzs simplified map draws a straight line leading from Freuds view of humans as instinct-driven, pleasure-seeking beings to the contemporary view of humans as primarily connection-driven, relationship-seeking beings. Any branches that lead in a different direction have been lopped off. Thus, while Schwartz focuses for a while on the relationship between Freud and Jung for its effect on the former, we learn practically nothing about Jungian thought. The authors heroes are the relationship-oriented thinkers, including William Alanson White and Harry Stack Sullivan in America and the British school of object-relations theorists (including Ronald Fairbairn, D.W. Winnicott, etc.). And while we learn that there was a fierce battle in England between supporters of Melanie Klein and those of Anna Freud as theorists about child psychoanalysis, we are told next to nothing about Anna Freuds ideas. Overall this is a rather dry and dispassionate account of comings and goings across the Atlantic, of letters exchanged and meetings taken; only occasionally does someone seem to affect Schwartz more deeply, in particular the combative and complex Melanie Klein, about whose machinations to get herself invited to England during the interwar period we get a detailed account. And while Karen Horney rates only a brief mention in Schwartzs section on the impact of feminism on psychoanalysis, we get a lengthy discussion of the Latin American theorist Marie Langer, whose adaptation of psychoanalysis to the needs of victims of state terror engage the author powerfully. Still, Shcwartz gives a fine and thorough discussion of the object-relations school of thought and moves one to read further about the people and ideas he describes. Perhaps that is the best one can hope for from such a primer. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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