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What if Freud didn’t care?

Adam Phillips, 14 May 1992

The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Cape, 245 pp., £18, November 1991, 0 224 03227 5
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... who do it with any gusto; though not all of them, fortunately, are as crassly enthusiastic as Phyllis Grosskurth is in this book. In this history of Freud’s first group of colleagues – the Committee who, under Freud’s aegis, invented what we now think of as psychoanalysis – Grosskurth ‘ponders the ...

The Sun-Bather

Michael Neve, 3 July 1980

Havelock Ellis 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Allen Lane, 492 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 7139 1071 2
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... Philosopher of Love, published last year. But students of biography will particularly welcome Phyllis Grosskurth’s contribution, remembering her last biographical effort with pleasure. Her book on John Addington Symonds, now 16 years old, is one of the genuinely original works of its kind, a detailed and sensitive rescuing of its subject from the ...

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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... with bisexual Swiss and Italians. In her Introduction the knowledgeable editor of the Memoirs, Phyllis Grosskurth, is rather ingenuous in accepting this claim at face value: not only because Symonds’s tastes were known to both his father and his wife (as Vaughan’s, incidentally, had been to his), but more importantly because of the allusions ...

Culture and Personality

Caroline Humphrey, 31 August 1989

Margaret Mead: A Life of Controversy 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Penguin, 96 pp., £3.99, May 1989, 0 14 008760 5
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Ruth Benedict: Stranger in the Land 
by Margaret Caffrey.
Texas, 432 pp., $24.95, February 1989, 0 292 74655 5
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... The two books under review take quite different views of the achievements of their subjects. Phyllis Grosskurth’s Margaret Mead: A Life of Controversy, which appears in Penguin’s ‘Lives of Modern Women’ series, is really just another moan about the awfulness of Margaret Mead. She was impatient, bossy, over-zealous, incapable of realising ...

Shall we tell the children?

Paul Seabright, 3 July 1986

Melanie Klein: Her World and her Work 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Hodder, 516 pp., £19.95, June 1986, 0 340 25751 2
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Bloomsbury/Freud: The Letters of James and Alix Strachey 1924-1925 
edited by Perry Meisel and Walter Kendrick.
Chatto, 360 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 7011 3051 2
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... these animosities and the gossip on which they fed persisted for so long makes especially welcome Phyllis Grosskurth’s scholarly book, the first full biography of Klein. Melanie Reizes was born in 1882 in Vienna. Her father was a doctor; her mother was forced by straitened financial circumstances to keep a shop selling plants and (bizarrely, since they ...

War Zone

Sherry Turkle, 23 November 1989

by Adam Phillips.
Fontana, 180 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 9780006860945
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... Melanie Klein has been characterised as a struggle between darkness and light. ‘Anna Freud,’ Phyllis Grosskurth said in her biography of Klein, ‘was an expositor of her father’s ideas, but only of those ideas that could be scrutinised in clearly lit, well-ventilated places ... The witches of the night ride on broomsticks and converse with the ...

Happy Bunnies

John Pemble: Cousin Marriage, 25 February 2010

Incest and Influence: The Private Life of Bourgeois England 
by Adam Kuper.
Harvard, 296 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 674 03589 8
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... left in order to accept a much lower-profile job as vicar of Doncaster. Not until 1964, when Phyllis Grosskurth published her biography of John Addington Symonds, was it revealed that Vaughan had resigned in order to avoid prosecution for sexual offences with a pupil. As late as 1955, in his essay ‘The Intellectual Aristocracy’, Noël Annan was ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland, 11 July 1991

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... sexual and spiritual needs and their position in a socialist state.’ It sounds very cerebral. Phyllis Grosskurth suggests something more carnal in her life of Havelock Ellis: What is one to make of these complex relationships? Ellis was clearly deeply in love with Olive Schreiner. She loved him tenderly, but her expectations of him died when he ...

Hidden Consequences

John Mullan: Byron, 6 November 2003

Byron: Life and Legend 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 674 pp., £9.99, November 2003, 0 571 17997 5
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... It is to be preferred, I think, to the two most recent large-scale attempts at a Life of Byron, by Phyllis Grosskurth and Benita Eisler. MacCarthy, while happy to recommend, for instance, the virtues of Tom Moore’s highly selective Life of Byron of 1832, hardly acknowledges modern biographies, apart from Marchand’s three-volume account of ...

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