Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst (Jewish Lives)

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Adam Phillips

From one of the worlds foremost authorities on Sigmund Freud comes a strikingly original biography of the father of psychoanalysis

Becoming Freudis the story of the young FreudFreud up until the age of fiftythat incorporates all of Freuds many misgivings about the art of biography. Freud invented a psychological treatment that involved the telling and revising of life stories, but he was himself skeptical of the writing of such stories. In this biography, Adam Phillips, whom the New Yorker calls Britains foremost psychoanalytical writer, emphasizes the largely and inevitably undocumented story of Freuds earliest years as the oldestand favoredson of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and suggests that the psychoanalysis Freud invented was, among many other things, a psychology of the immigrantincreasingly, of course, everybodys status in the modern world.

Psychoanalysis was also Freuds way of coming to terms with the fate of the Jews in Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. So as well as incorporating the writings of Freud and his contemporaries, Becoming Freud also uses the work of historians of the Jews in Europe in this significant period in their lives, a period of unprecedented political freedom and mounting persecution. Phillips concludes by speculating what psychoanalysis might have become if Freud had died in 1906, before the emergence of a psychoanalytic movement over which he had to preside.