What if Freud didn’t care?

Adam Phillips

  • The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis by Phyllis Grosskurth
    Cape, 245 pp, £18.00, November 1991, ISBN 0 224 03227 5

Auden once suggested that a literary critic should declare his ‘dream of Eden’ because ‘honesty demands that he describes it to his readers, so that they may be in a position to judge his judgments.’ Even though psychoanalysis ironises dreams of Eden – in psychoanalytic theory paradise is only for the losers – it would be useful for psychoanalysts to say something about these things, about the kind of world they would prefer to live in, and why they think psychoanalysis is a good way of both spending one’s time and contributing to this Eden. It will, after all, matter a great deal to their patients what stories they tend to tell themselves and their colleagues about, say, promiscuity, or socialism, or ambition. And, of course, about psychoanalysis and the significance of its history.

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