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Freud's Trip to Orvieto: The Great Doctor's…

Freud's Trip to Orvieto: The Great Doctor's Unresolved Confrontation with…

by Nicholas Fox Weber

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
“Freud's Trip to Orvieto is at once profound and wonderfully diverse, and as gripping as any detective story. Nicholas Fox Weber mixes psychoanalysis, art history, and the personal with an intricacy and spiritedness that Freud himself would have admired." ( )
  lisadewaard | May 2, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Freud's Trip to Orvieto, by Nicholas Fox Weber, is multifaceted autobiography, art history and criticism, memoir, and psychoanalysis. Freud visited Orvieto in 1897 and was spellbound by the then 400-year old 'Last Judgment' frescos (1499-1504) by the painter Luca Signorelli (1445-1523) in the Cappella Nova of the cathedral in Orvieto, Italy. That the then 41-year-old Freud could not recall the artist's name to a colleague, this a the time the inventor of psychoanalysis was in the forefront of his genius, was frustrating to such extent that Freud's The Psychology of Everyday Life (1901) opens with three chapters devoted to "Forgetting Proper Names", "Forgetting Foreign Words", and "Forgetting Names and Order of Words" (The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud, Modern Library, 1938).

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  chuck_ralston | Apr 30, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Mr. Weber attempts to present Freud from an angle that is fresh and very personal. This trip is very symbolic to Freud and Mr. Weber includes himself to a great degree in the narrative of the book, trying to understand the power and identity of Freud. It is wonderful to see how artists like Signorelli had an impact on Freud, these visuals offer a lens into the soul of this man.

Many thanks to Library Thing for sending this book for free, it is a very interesting tool into Freud and I promise to treasure it. ( )
  happysadnick | Apr 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Freud fell in love with Luca Signorelli’s frescoes in Orvieto, calling them the greatest artwork he’d ever encountered. A scant year later, he could picture the works clearly but couldn’t remember Signorelli’s name; when he finally did, he forgot what the artworks looked like. A fascinating mystery, ripe for Freudian analysis, right?

Unfortunately, this book isn't about that. Or it is, but it's just as much a memoir about Weber finding a manuscript on Freud's Signorelli amnesia written by two psychologists friends of his parents, which Weber somehow ties to a memory of something sexual he did with another of his parents' friends, and about his mixed feelings about his Jewish heritage, sprinkled with conversations he's had with big-wigs like Philip Roth. Not so fascinating, I have to say. I would have preferred a book squarely focused on Freud.

To be fair, Weber really knows his Freud and his Signorelli, so if you're in the market for a Freudian, self-analytical book, then this is for you! ( )
  giovannigf | Apr 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book concerns a trip that Freud made to see the paintings of Luco Signorelli at the cathedral at Orveito. The paintings are entitled The Damned Cast Into Hell. Freud made the trip during the eleventh month of a twelve month morning period following the passing of his father.

Several days later (or maybe longer depending on the source) he was unable to recall Signorelli’s name, although he could still see the paintings in his minds eye. It is reported that once he did recall Signorelli’s name, his ability to see the paintings was gone.

Now the question over the years has been why did he have this experience? Most psychologists have related Freud’s repression to the fact that the first three letters of his name and that of the painter are the same. But Weber has a much different take on the issue: he believes that the real issue lies in the visual sensations that Freud experienced when viewing the paintings. He takes us on a long and detailed journey through the visual effects of the paintings that Freud could of encountered and along the way relates his own feelings and knowledge to supplement the argument.

This book – if the thesis is valid – gives us a totally different view of Freud the father of psychoanalysis: here we encounter Freud the man. This fact makes the book an intriguing read.

Along the way we encounter a Freud in grief and concerned with dying; a Freud who had questions about human sexuality; a Freud who was experiencing deep human emotions brought on by visual stimuli. In addition we are exposed to some of the issues that Freud experienced about his own Jewishness.

All in all this is an engaging and very interesting journey that the author takes us on. Whatever one may think about Freud’s value as an analyst, this book opens a whole new chapter into Freud the man – here we find him beset by his attempt to come to terms with what it means to be a human being with limited understanding of life and with the knowledge that it will end one day.
  ldcos7815 | Apr 11, 2017 |
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