- Flashbacks by Timothy Leary
Heinemann, 397 pp, £9.95, October 1983, ISBN 0 434 40975 8
- Freud and Cocaine by E.M. Thornton
Blond and Briggs, 340 pp, £12.95, September 1983, ISBN 0 85634 139 8
- Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females by Andrea Dworkin
Women’s Press, 254 pp, £4.95, June 1983, ISBN 0 7043 3907 2
- Hidden Selves: Between Theory and Practice in Psychoanalysis by Masud Khan
Hogarth, 204 pp, £12.50, July 1983, ISBN 0 7012 0547 4
How do minds close? Under what series of angers, of single visions, does the deliberate deafness take hold? Not an easy question to answer, since part of the dialectical nightmare of this argument is that the only way a closed mind might be opened is by a mind single-mindedly bent on the task. And you end up with two closed minds, as in a quarrel. It is salutary to reflect how comparatively rare is the expression ‘I don’t know,’ and to admit that arguing with (say) John Wesley, or Bertolt Brecht, or even – to be banal – Roger Scruton, would be a pretty grim business.
Vol. 5 No. 22 · 1 December 1983
SIR: I am sorry my book Freud and Cocaine should have aroused such choler in your reviewer (LRB, 20 October) but surprised that a review containing so much misrepresentation and expressed in such intemperate terms should have found a place in your journal. Michael Neve has read into my book things it does not contain. I made no ‘cheap crack’ at William Halstead. I wrote of him sympathetically as one of the first medical casualties of cocaine. The phrase Neve quotes obviously means that Halstead underwent a personality change, not that he vanished from the surgical scene for ever, as Neve interpreted it. The book was not ‘billed’ as ‘The Demolition of Sigmund Freud’. This phrase was taken from the foreword contributed by the late Dr Raymond Greene and represented his honest opinion of the book. These and other misrepresentations I would have ignored, but Neve’s accusation of anti-semitism verges on the defamatory and must be answered. My book contains not the slightest trace of anything that could be remotely construed as anti-semitism, nor do I myself hold any such views.
Michael Neve writes: The problem facing a reviewer of E.M. Thornton’s book is that of imagining what drives her to unite a range of individuals and movements under a single explanatory device, in order to accuse them. This is true, albeit mildly, of William Halsted (whose surname she continually misspells, in book and letter) and true also, in a more violent way, of her account of Breuer and Freud. I suspected a hostility to German naturphilosophie. More tentatively, I suspected a ‘harmless, if dislikeable’ anti-semitism. I take her word for it that I was mistaken in that respect, and apologise.