Monday Book: A Battle between Marx and Freud FREUD AND THE BOLSHEVIKS: PSYCHOANALYSIS IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA AND THE SOVIET UNION BY MARTIN A MILLER, YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, Pounds 20
McLynn, Frank, The Independent (London, England)
CAN FREUD be reconciled with Marx? Interestingly, the ideologues of both superpowers during the Cold War said no, and in the US it was fashionable to use Freud as a weapon with which to "refute" Marx. In the Soviet Union, for 60 years from 1924, the official line was that Freud's doctrine represented both "idealist mystification", and "bourgeois individualism".
It was left to the Frankfurt School, especially Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, to underline the many significant ways in which Marxism and Freudianism converged, and to argue convincingly that the very last belief-system for which psychoanalysis could act as a support was capitalism. Only at the very beginning of the history of the Soviet Union, during Lenin's New Economic Policy, and at the very end, during Gorbachev's glasnost, did the id, ego, superego and the unconscious gain a foothold in the USSR.
Freud originally hoped that he would find an apostle to take the gospel of psychoanalysts to Russia - someone who would rival Jung in Switzerland, Ferenczi in Budapest, Abraham in Berlin and Ernest Jones in Britain. He had great hopes for Nikolai Osipov, who pioneered the application of Freud's theories to Russian literature, especially Tolstoy, but Osipov had two drawbacks. He was influenced more by Jung and the Swiss psychiatrist Paul Dubois, and he had no stomach for a fight. When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, Osipov fled to Prague, leaving Russian psychoanalysis in the hands of Tatiana Rosenthal. When she committed suicide in 1921, the movement was without a leader until Sabina Spielrein, one of Freud's most brilliant students and a former lover of Jung's, returned to her native Ukraine. She was initially aided by the favourable attitude of both Lenin and Trotsky, but already the Stalinist clouds were gathering. Martin Miller's scholarly volume concentrates on the period until 1924, analysing in detail the writings of Bernard Bykhoysky and M A Reisner, and the years after 1953, focusing particularly on the work of the subtle psychologist Omitri Vznadze. About the Stalinist era there is little to say. Psychoanalysis was declared a bourgeois heresy, incompatible with Marxist-Leninism, and four main reasons were adduced. First, Stalin's doctrine of "socialism in one …
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Publication information: Article title: Monday Book: A Battle between Marx and Freud FREUD AND THE BOLSHEVIKS: PSYCHOANALYSIS IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA AND THE SOVIET UNION BY MARTIN A MILLER, YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, Pounds 20. Contributors: McLynn, Frank - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: February 15, 1999. Page number: 5. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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