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A Basic Theory of NeuropsychoanalysisA Cursing Brain?A Dream of Undying FameA Map of the MindAfter LacanAgainst AdaptationAgainst FreudAn Anatomy of AddictionAnalytic FreudAndré Green at the Squiggle FoundationAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnna FreudAnna Freud: A BiographyApproaching PsychoanalysisAttachment and PsychoanalysisBadiouBecoming a SubjectBefore ForgivingBerlin PsychoanalyticBetween Emotion and CognitionBeyond GenderBeyond SexualityBeyond the Pleasure PrincipleBiology of FreedomBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCarl JungCassandra's DaughterCherishmentConfusion of TonguesContemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third ReichCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDarwin's WormsDesert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Dispatches from the Freud WarsDoes the Woman Exist?Doing Psychoanalysis in TehranDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDreaming by the BookEnergy 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Floyd ArchivesIntimaciesIntimate RevoltIrrationalityIs Oedipus Online?Jacques LacanJacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of PsychoanalysisJung and the Making of Modern PsychologyJung Stripped BareKilling FreudLacanLacanLacanLacan and Contemporary FilmLacan at the SceneLacan For BeginnersLacan in AmericaLacan TodayLacan's Seminar on AnxietyLawLearning from Our MistakesLove's ExecutionerMad Men and MedusasMale Female EmailMelanie KleinMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMental SlaveryMind to MindMixing MindsMoral StealthMourning and ModernityMovies and the MindMurder in ByzantiumNew Studies of Old VillainsNocturnesNoir AnxietyOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn BeliefOn IncestOn Not Being Able to SleepOn the Freud WatchOn the Way HomeOpen MindedOpera's Second DeathOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhenomology & Lacan on Schizophrenia, After the Decade of the BrainPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPsychiatry, 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WorldThe Brain, the Mind and the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Late Sigmund FreudThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy 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"I still enjoy reading Freud and am happy to teach his work to my students." (162). This embrace of the founder of psychoanalysis contrasts with most everything else presented in this sparkling obituary of the profession. Dufresne, a relatively young Freud critic, teaches philosophy at Lakehead University, Ontario. Steeped in the history, literature and philosophy of the twentieth century and before, he jousts with deconstruction, Lacanian analysis and Freudo-Marxism, bringing humor and a creative flair to the task. While essential and challenging for Freud scholars, at least half the book is accessible to general readers.
The book comprises thirteen chapters (some previously published in scholarly journals) with notes, bibliography and index. The first section reviews the beginnings of psychoanalysis, the influence of hypnosis and Freud's dismissal of that approach. Dufresne argues, however, that a substantial amount of powerful, unacknowledged suggestion pervades the analyst-patient relationship. The second section takes up theory and politics as well as history, and includes a fictional piece about a Canadian psychoanalyst who becomes Freud's patient in 1933. It rings true emotionally, proving Dufresne's talent as a scholar who can breathe life into history.
The third major section is devoted to side issues that have hardly been mentioned before in this context: skating and dogs. Ernest Jones, Freud's English colleague and biographer also wrote on his own hobbies of ice skating and chess. Dufresne wields a formidable analytic talent himself in Psychoanalysis on Thin Ice, delving into power and control, mind and body, ecstasy and hidden eroticism. He explores Freud's late-life devotion to his dogs, partners in all psychoanalytic sessions. As a young student, Freud read Cervantes' story of Cipion, a smart listener and analytic forerunner missed by most biographers but important, since Freud signed some of his early letters Cipion.
The book includes an interview with Dufresne, in which he positions himself among Freud critics, condemns Freudian interpretation as unscientific, self-serving garbage, and dismisses poststructuralism as a handmaiden of psychoanalysis. Dufresne deplores the failure of scholars to deal with facts that have been known for decades: against this regrettable culture of motivated disinterest, Killing Freud is issued as a provocation and call to scholarly debate. It succeeds very well at that. The debate might start about the form of discourse in the psychoanalytic hour, the individual and cultural significance of what has sometimes been called "The Jewish confessional."
© 2009 E. James Lieberman
E. James Lieberman, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, George Washington University School of Medicine
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