Academic journal article German Quarterly

Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis

Article excerpt

Zaretsky, Eli. SecretsoftheSoul:A Socialand Cultural History of Psychoanalysis.New York: Knopf, 2004. 429pp. $30.00 cloth.

This ambitious study lives up to its subtitle, exploring to differing degrees the resonances of psychoanalysis in philosophy, history, economics, literature, theater, and the plastic and performing arts. Zaretsky's glance at the interactions of psychoanalysis and cinema is reflected in the volume's title, echoing that of the!926 "psychoanalytic film" (145) secrets of the Soul by G.W. Pabst. Zaretsky's observation that the film was produced even though Freud objected that a plastic medium could not represent such an abstract science, whereas Lou Andréas-Salomé, Otto Rank, and Hanns Sachs all defended the potential of cinema, points to the fact that the book's two main foci-psychoanalysis and its founder-were not always in harmony with each other.

Zaretsky devotes considerable attention to the individual thinkers who dominated psychoanalysis in its early years, above all, of course, Freud. These discussions, interweaving biographical details with analyses of the work, add a good deal of life and color to this highly scholarly book (containing 69 pages of endnotes). In treating Freud's thought, Zaretsky draws on a wide array of sources, including Freud's papers and books, letters, conversations, as well as accounts by colleagues, friends, and family members. Zaretsky is by no means uncritical of Freud, for instance characterizing him as opportunistic when he continued to communicate with the German Psychoanalytic Society in Berlin even after it forced the resignation of all Jews in 1935 and joined the Göring Institute the following year. Secrets of the Soul also provides lively portraits of the Männerbund, or band of disciples, around Freud, and of their relations with him. Zaretsky's repeated use of this term to refer to the group is perhaps intended to underline their differences from the early female analysts, whose numbers grew rapidly following World War I. The most decisive of these differences, theorized by such analysts as Helene Deutsch and Karen Horney, was the replacement of the father by the mother as the foremost influence in early childhood. Zaretsky regards this reorientation, which he attributes above all to the feminist movement, as one of the major developments in the evolution of psychoanalysis. He likewise discusses the history of British object relations in this period in terms of the conflict between two women who "represented different daughterly relations" (254) to Freud, Melanie Klein and his actual daughter Anna. …

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