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The Cambridge Companion to Freud (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) (edition 1991)

by Jerome Neu

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Title:The Cambridge Companion to Freud (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
Authors:Jerome Neu
Info:Cambridge University Press (1991), Paperback, 370 pages
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The Cambridge Companion to Freud by Jerome Neu

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This is an anthology of a baker's dozen of essays by scholars on Freud and his ideas: Freud and how he related to London (ego) and Paris (id), Freud and the "Seduction Theory," Freud and cognitive science, on the Interpretation of Dreams, the Unconscious, the Oedipus Complex, Perversion, the Superego, on women, art, anthropology, civilization, and on a critique of psychoanalysis.

This is not a book I picked up, or would have picked up, on my own volition. It was a required book for--of all things--a political science course I took in college and a requirement within the major. Professor Fermon was a fantastic teacher--but I admit, having taken more than one class with her, she had a Freud fetish and readings from him would crop up in the strangest places. But then she was very much a feminist, and I notice that the one part of the book marked up was Chodorow's essay, "Freud on Women." And of everything I've read about or by Freud (plenty thanks to Professor Fermon), I have to admit I find his theories on women to really be howlers. Here's a snippet of that essay:

Freud describes for us a variety of traits that characterize women and that he attributes entirely to penis envy and women's lack of a penis: shame at her body; jealousy, which results directly from envy itself; a lesser sense of justice resulting from the weak female superego that never forms because the girl does not fear castration and does not therefore give up oedipal longings or internalize sexual prohibitions; narcissism and vanity, as the self-love that men center on their penis becomes defensively diffused throughout the female body.

As a women, I have to agree with Chodorow that Freud's theories on women are more valuable as a inadvertently revealing look into the male psyche rather than the archetypal female mind--or at least the male psyche as formed in the Victorian Age. As for the other essays, I found a lot of material repetitive from essay to essay and so filled with academic jargon that it's impossible to claim they were good reads or that I found them illuminating. Freud aficionados might disagree. Maybe. The truth is I find Freud himself a more lively, interesting writer than any of the commentators on him in this anthology. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 20, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 052137779X, Paperback)

Does Freud still have something to teach us? The premise of this volume is that he most certainly does. Approaching Freud from not only the philosophical but also historical, psychoanalytical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives, the contributors show us how Freud gave us a new and powerful way to think about human thought and action. They consider the context of Freud's thought and the structure of his arguments to reveal how he made sense of ranges of experience generally neglected or misunderstood. All the central topics of Freud's work from sexuality and neurosis to morality, art, and culture are covered.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:25 -0400)

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