Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Offering a radically new portrait of the creator of psychoanalysis, this book explores the man in all his complexity alongside an interpretation of his theories that cuts through the stereotypes that surround him.
The development of Freud’s thinking is addressed not only in the context of his personal life, but also in that of society and culture at large, while the impact of his thinking on subsequent issues of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and social theory is fully examined. Whitebook demonstrates that declarations of Freud’s obsolescence are premature, and, with his clear and engaging style, brings this vivid figure to life in compelling and readable fashion.
“Does the world need another biography of Sigmund Freud?” The question, posed by Joel Whitebook at the start of his “intellectual biography” devoted to the founder of psychoanalysis, is apt. For, indeed, Ernest Jones, Peter Gay, and more recently Adam Phillips and Elisabeth Roudinesco have already famously and extensively profiled the life, thought, and legacy of Freud. Whitebook’s answer is, most fortunately, “an emphatic yes” in that current advances in research and theory, and (often unfavorable) assessments of psychoanalysis as well, allow him “to sort out important unanswered questions concerning Freud’s life and address critical issues in contemporary psychoanalysis and philosophy” (Oppenheim, L. (2018). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 66(1))
Author’s presentation (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FFho8SrnA8
Regressive and progressive tendencies in Freud (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E52mw-RGRyw