On the Freud Watch: Public Memoirs

Roazen, Paul



This is a collection of personal pieces. The Introduction deals with Paul Roazen’s experiences attending clinical case conferences at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in 1964-65, and what he learned about psychoanalytic psychology there. Chapter 1 makes a general statement about his outlook on why studying the past matters. Chapter 2 deals with a particular psychological explanation that his friend Charles Rycroft offered for why psychoanalysts are characteristically anti-historical. Chapter 3 discusses Roazen’s take on the problem of Freud’s analysis of his daughter Anna, a matter Roazen first brought to light in 1969. Chapter 4 deals with the rarely discussed question of training analyses. Chapter 5 contains Roazen’s efforts to deal with the way the founder of the Freud Archives, Kurt Eissler, launched attacks on his work. Chapter 6 tries to show how Roazen thinks Dickens’s “David Copperfield” can be an example of creative ablation in a great novelist’s life. Chapter 7 discusses O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey” from the contrasting viewpoints of Freud and Jung, both of whom can be said to have directly influenced O’Neill. Chapter 8 consists of some 26 letters to the editor that Roazen published, including the circumstances and objectives he had with each. Chapter 9 covers his take on the recently published Freud correspondences with both Ferenczi and Abraham. Chapter 10 is an over-view of Freud’s impact on political and social thought, embracing the traditions of socialism, conservatism, and liberalism. Chapter 11 includes Roazen’s use of psychological thinking in order to follow questions connection with Canadian political life as he experienced it. Chapter 13 deals with Roazen’s understanding of who has won and lost in the Freud Wars of this past century. And Chapter 14 concludes with a discussion of how he thinks Freud’s concept of neurosis was intended to convey his understanding of a specifically human privilege. The short epilogue closes with a personal account of the signifiance of a small beach in Roazen’s childhood. Paul Roazen, educated as a political theorist at Harvard, Chicago, and Oxford, has spent his career approaching psychoanalysis as an aspect of intellectual history. Issues of a moral and philosophic nature remain central to the tradition of thought that Freud initiated, and help account for the unfortunate sectarianism that has afflicted the field. “On the Freud Watch: Public Memoirs” opens and closes with autobiographical pieces, but the book as a whole reflects an intensely personal account of how Roazen became known as a “controversial” figure within psychoanalysis.

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