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Hochjuden

Peter Gay

5 January 1989
Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin 
by Deborah Hertz.
Yale, 299 pp., £22.50, June 1988, 0 300 03775 9
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... The astonishing thing about this highly professional monograph is that no one has done it before. The subject – cultivated Jewish women presiding over influential salons in Berlin during the era of the French Revolution and just after – would appear to be irresistible. ‘It was in Germany,’ rather than in France, where Jews had been politically emancipated, ‘specifically in Berlin,’ Hertz ...
3 March 1983
Mozart 
by Wolfgang Hildesheimer, translated by Marion Faber.
Dent, 408 pp., £10.95, January 1983, 0 460 04347 1
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... to ‘humanise’ a world-historical figure amount to trivialising him; they drown his genius in anecdotes or reduce it to his neuroses. Mozart has recently been subjected to this treatment in Peter Shaffer’s clever but meretricious play Amadeus, which turned him into a divinely gifted vulgarian, punning and burping his way through high society. But Hildesheimer’s way with this self-imposed ...
7 July 1988
Mozart the Dramatist: The Value of his Operas to Him, to his Age and to Us 
by Brigid Brophy.
Libris, 322 pp., £17.50, June 1988, 1 870352 35 1
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1791: Mozart’s Last Year 
by H.C. Robbins Landon.
Thames and Hudson, 240 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 500 01411 6
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Mozart: Studies of the Autograph Scores 
by Alan Tyson.
Harvard, 381 pp., £27.95, January 1988, 0 674 58830 4
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... The literature on Mozart is almost as diverse, though surely not quite so glorious, as Mozart’s own output. These three books are a case in point: a freewheeling analysis of Mozart the opera composer in the Enlightenment, a thoroughly documented survey of Mozart’s last year, and a technical study of Mozart’s manuscripts. Together, they give us a sense that we are closing in on the real Mozart ...

Kissing Cure

Peter Gay

31 August 1989
The Clinical Diary of Sandor Ferenczi 
edited by Judith Dupont, translated by Michael Balint and Nicola Zarday Jackson.
Harvard, 227 pp., £23.95, February 1989, 0 674 13526 1
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... It was Freud’s dubious privilege to attract endangered personalities. Possibly the most gifted, almost definitely the most interesting of these was Sandor Ferenczi; and the publication of a clinical journal he kept during most of 1932, the year before his death, allows the public interested in such matters to assess, far better than before, the range of his professional gifts and the depth of his ...
4 August 1988
Freud: A Life for Our Time: A Life in Our Time 
by Peter Gay.
Dent, 810 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 460 04761 2
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... Professor PeterGay is an eminent American cultural historian of German origin, an enthusiastic convert to Freudian doctrine, and an honorary member of the American Psychoanalytical Association – you can’t, as a ...
9 February 1995
The Cultivation of Hatred 
by Peter Gay.
HarperCollins, 685 pp., £25, April 1994, 0 00 255218 3
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... PeterGay’s The Cultivation of Hatred completes his Freudian psychoanalysis of the bourgeois 19th century by bringing aggression to bear alongside the forces of sexuality which form the subject of the ...

Drowned in Eau de Vie

Modris Eksteins: New, Fast and Modern

21 February 2008
Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond 
by Peter Gay.
Heinemann, 610 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 434 01044 8
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... trend would be a gradual ascent with some stunning vertical spurts before and after the First World War. In his new book, Modernism: The Lure of Heresy, the inordinately prolific and widely admired PeterGay has much to say about the creativity of the moderns but surprisingly little about their negativity. He conceives of Modernism in older terms as principally an intellectual and artistic grouping ...
19 June 1986
The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. Vol. II: The Tender Passion 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 490 pp., £19.50, June 1986, 0 19 503741 3
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... class for this fond backward look is the Bourgeois. Once mocked and despised, it now comes retrospectively into its own: its complacencies, tyrannies and inhibitions now seem positively seductive. PeterGay proposes to write a series of six volumes on ‘The Bourgeois Experience’, of which this is the second, and it is clear that he is on the way to sales and success. Shrewdly, the first two ...
6 November 1986
Tribute to Freud 
by H. D.
Carcanet, 194 pp., £5.95, August 1985, 0 85635 599 2
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In Dora’s Case: Freud, Hysteria, Feminism 
edited by Charles Bernheimer and Claire Kahane.
Virago, 291 pp., £11.95, October 1985, 0 86068 712 0
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The Essentials of Psychoanalysis 
by Sigmund Freud, edited by Anna Freud.
Hogarth/Institute of Psychoanalysis, 595 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 7012 0720 5
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Freud and the Humanities 
edited by Peregrine Horden.
Duckworth, 186 pp., £18, October 1985, 0 7156 1983 7
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Freud for Historians 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 252 pp., £16.50, January 1986, 0 19 503586 0
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The Psychoanalytic Movement 
by Ernest Gellner.
Paladin, 241 pp., £3.50, May 1985, 0 586 08436 3
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The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art 
by Leo Bersani.
Columbia, 126 pp., $17.50, April 1986, 0 231 06218 4
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... who, enjoying its advantages, still cling to bits of outworn intellectual luggage. His pages on Oedipus are erudite and caustic: a sting in the tail of this sometimes bland collection. Certainly, PeterGay should read Lloyd-Jones whenever he feels a fit of hyperbole stealing over him. ‘The astonishing range of Freud’s discoveries, his unparalleled gift for reading evidence’, ‘advocate of ...

Masters or Servants

Conrad Russell

5 July 1984
The Young Richelieu: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Leadership 
by Elizabeth Wirth Marvick.
Chicago, 276 pp., £27.20, December 1983, 0 226 50904 4
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Richelieu and Olivares 
by J.H. Elliott.
Cambridge, 189 pp., £17.50, March 1984, 0 521 26205 4
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... because they mean them and the things they say because they do not mean them. Such evidence is inaccessible to the historian. In the 19th century, in the age which, in their different ways, Freud and PeterGay have made their own, sheer bulk of documents may to some extent compensate for this difficulty. In the 17th century, the problem of psychological interpretation is altogether more intractable ...
16 August 1990
The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... very close. Malcolm Baker writes on tomb sculpture, ‘the static intermediary between the earthly and the eternal’, where the stone figure of the Commendatore is undeniably a case in point. PeterGay explores the opera’s ‘hidden agenda’, long ago exposed to the light of Freudian day: in this Oedipal reading, Mozart’s ‘unconscious rage against his father, disciplinarian and exploiter ...

From Shtetl to Boulevard

Paul Keegan: Freud’s Mother

4 October 2017
Freud: In His Time and Ours 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Catherine Porter.
Harvard, 580 pp., £27.95, November 2016, 978 0 674 65956 8
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Freud: An Intellectual Biography 
by Joel Whitebook.
Cambridge, 484 pp., £30, February 2017, 978 0 521 86418 3
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... like a hot potato and unmentionable in polite psychoanalytical society. Roudinesco proves Freud dark by association. Both biographies share an aversion to the twice-told tale (by Ernest Jones and PeterGay) of an Enlightenment Freud dutiful and dauntless in the stables of irrationality. The new biographers have turned away from prelapsarian universals. Rather than insulate his thought from its ...

Former Lovers

Michael Mason

6 September 1984
The Bourgeois Experience. Victoria to Freud Vol. I: Education of the Senses 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 608 pp., £18.50, March 1984, 0 19 503352 3
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Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd 
by Polly Longsworth.
Farrar, Straus, 449 pp., £18.50, September 1984, 0 374 10716 5
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The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds 
edited by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Hutchinson, 319 pp., £14.95, May 1984, 0 09 154170 0
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... a categorical link, of whatever sort, between the Victorians and sex: if ‘Victorian’ continued to be entitled to a powerful sexual overtone, even if not the customary one. The reviewers of PeterGay’s book have been very receptive to the thought that we have got Victorian sexuality wrong: for it is a leading part of the author’s argument that the Victorians were not prevailingly ignorant ...

Weimarama

Richard J. Evans

8 November 1990
Male Fantasies Vol. I: Women, Floods, Bodies, History 
by Klaus Theweleit, translated by Chris Turner, Erica Carter and Stephen Conway.
Polity, 517 pp., £35, May 1987, 0 7456 0382 3
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Male Fantasies Vol. II: Male Bodies: Psychoanalysing the White Terror 
by Klaus Theweleit, translated by Chris Turner, Erica Carter and Stephen Conway.
Polity, 507 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 7456 0556 7
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... which indeed Theweleit himself was a moderately prominent activist. Viewed from the perspective of the Nineties, his argument appears politically utopian, and – given the work that has been done by PeterGay and others on exposing the gulf that lay between the prim nostrums of Victorian moralists and the pulsating realities of the sexual culture they were trying to define – historically inadequate ...

Body Parts

Lawrence Stone

24 November 1994
The Making of Victorian Sexuality 
by Michael Mason.
Oxford, 338 pp., £17.95, April 1994, 0 19 812247 0
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The Making of Victorian Sexual Attitudes 
by Michael Mason.
Oxford, 256 pp., £17.99, October 1994, 0 19 812292 6
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... he leaves the field of bodies and pleasures perfectly intact as a subject of historical enquiry, with its linkages to belief, if one only chooses to investigate it.’ Shortly afterwards, in 1984, PeterGay, in The Bourgeois Experience: Education of the Senses, published new evidence of sexual hedonism in practice, especially in the record of one joyously sensual upper-middle-class threesome living ...

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