The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Lévi-Strauss, and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity

By John Murray Cuddihy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
THE LOCUS OF FREUD'S ORIGINALITY

[Freud] is, one keeps forgetting,
the great liberator and therapist
of speech.

Steven Marcus 1

Freud was at once proud and deeply troubled by the fact that it was he, a Jew, who had discovered the sexual etiology of the neuroses. He used this ambivalence effectively. Defending psychoanalysis against its enemies in his 1925 paper "The Resistances to Psychoanalysis," he concludes by saying, "Finally, with all reserve, the question may be raised whether the personality of the present writer as a Jew who had never sought to disguise the fact that he is a Jew may not have had a share in provoking the antipathy of his environment to psychoanalysis." One might expect Freud at this point to consider such a charge (which, in vulgar form, ran "psychoanalysis is a Jewish science") beneath contempt and to refuse even to reply. Instead, he goes on as follows: "Nor is it perhaps entirely a matter of chance that the first advocate of psychoanalysis was a Jew. To profess belief in this new theory called for a certain degree of readiness to accept a position of solitary opposition—a position," he concludes, "with which no one is more familiar than a Jew" 2 (my emphasis). Note that Freud here does not link the content of psychoanalytical theory to the fact of his Jewishness, but rather connects his readiness to "advocate" and "profess belief in" it to his Jewishness. The Jew, being a social pariah, stands, in a sense, outside "the condition of cultural hypocrisy" that prevents "the ventilation of the question" 3 of sexuality (my emphasis). For if psychoanalysis offends men's narcissism by its theory of the power of the unconscious over the conscious ego, 4 and if its theory of infantile sexual life "hurt every single person at the tenderest point of his own psychical development"—namely, in their private fantasies of their sexually innocent (asexual) childhood—then "by its theory of the instincts psychoanalysis offended the feelings of individuals insofar as they regarded themselves as members of the social community" 5 (my emphasis). The Jew, as a nonmember of such a community, and thus immune to its sanctions, could dare to be unrespectable. Freud, when he first professed the theory of sexuality, found himself, as Jones notes, "in increasing opposition to his 'respectable' colleagues and seniors." 6

Freud was disturbed as well as proud that it was he, a Jew, who had

-89-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Lévi-Strauss, and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 272

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.