Posts Tagged ‘ freud ’

New book – On the Couch: A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud

9780262036610_0

The book ‘On the Couch: A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud‘ by Nathan Kravis could be of interest to h-madness readers. The abstract on the website of MIT Press reads as follows:

The peculiar arrangement of the psychoanalyst’s office for an analytic session seems inexplicable. The analyst sits in a chair out of sight while the patient lies on a couch facing away. It has been this way since Freud, although, as Nathan Kravis points out in On the Couch, this practice is grounded more in the cultural history of reclining posture than in empirical research. Kravis, himself a practicing psychoanalyst, shows that the tradition of recumbent speech wasn’t dreamed up by Freud but can be traced back to ancient Greece, where guests reclined on couches at the symposion (a gathering for upper-class males to discuss philosophy and drink wine), and to the Roman convivium (a banquet at which men and women reclined together). From bed to bench to settee to chaise-longue to sofa: Kravis tells how the couch became an icon of self-knowledge and self-reflection as well as a site for pleasure, privacy, transgression, and healing.

Kravis draws on sources that range from ancient funerary monuments to furniture history to early photography, as well as histories of medicine, fashion, and interior decoration, and he deploys an astonishing array of images—of paintings, monuments, sculpture, photographs, illustrations, New Yorker cartoons, and advertisements.

Kravis deftly shows that, despite the ambivalence of today’s psychoanalysts—some of whom regard it as “infantilizing”—the couch continues to be the emblem of a narrative of self-discovery. Recumbent speech represents the affirmation in the presence of another of having a mind of one’s own.

New issue – History of Psychiatry

hpya_28_3.cover

There is a new issue of History of Psychiatry that might be of interest to H-Madness readers. It includes the following articles:

David W Jones, Moral insanity and psychological disorder: the hybrid roots of psychiatry

This paper traces the significance of the diagnosis of ‘moral insanity’ (and the related diagnoses of ‘monomania’ and ‘manie sans délire’) to the development of psychiatry as a profession in the nineteenth century. The pioneers of psychiatric thought were motivated to explore such diagnoses because they promised public recognition in the high status surroundings of the criminal court. Some success was achieved in presenting a form of expertise that centred on the ability of the experts to detect quite subtle, ‘psychological’ forms of dangerous madness within the minds of offenders in France and more extensively in England. Significant backlash in the press against these new ideas pushed the profession away from such psychological exploration and back towards its medical roots that located criminal insanity simply within the organic constitution of its sufferers.

Lynsey T Cullen, Post-mortem in the Victorian asylum: practice, purpose and findings at the Littlemore County Lunatic Asylum, 1886–7

This article examines the purpose of the post-mortem in the late Victorian asylum and discusses what the findings reveal about contemporary understanding of mental health. By examining the practice at the Littlemore Asylum of Oxford, the definition of the asylum post-mortem will be questioned and issues of consent and ownership of the dead body explored. It will be argued that the purpose of the examination was partly to appease the demands of the Commissioners in Lunacy, to protect the asylum against accusations of malpractice, and to appease the resident assistant medical officer’s own morbid curiosity. The examinations would therefore be better defined as dissections. This article will challenge understanding of institutional death, the legal processes required for dissection, and mental healthcare.

The sphygmograph, an instrument to measure and visually chart the pulse, was used by a number of asylum researchers in the late nineteenth century in an attempt to better understand mental disease. In charting the use of such a medical technology in the asylum, this article explores the utility of a practice-oriented approach in the history of psychiatry – as a window onto the alienist profession and as a means of investigating how new medical technologies were assimilated into everyday practice.

Tatjana Buklijas, The laboratory and the asylum: Francis Walker Mott and the pathological laboratory at London County Council Lunatic Asylum, Claybury, Essex (1895–1916)

London County Council’s pathological laboratory in the LCC asylum at Claybury, Essex, was established in 1895 to study the pathology of mental illness. Historians of psychiatry have understood the Claybury laboratory as a predecessor of the Maudsley Hospital in London: not only was this laboratory closed when the Maudsley was opened in 1916, but its director, Frederick Walker Mott, a champion of the ‘German’ model in psychiatry, was instrumental in the establishment of this institution. Yet, as I argue in this essay, for all the continuities with the Maudsley, the Claybury laboratory should not be seen solely as its predecessor – or as a British answer to continental laboratories such as Theodor Meynert’s in Vienna. Rather, as I show using the examples of general paralysis of the insane and ‘asylum colitis’, the Claybury laboratory is best understood as an attempt to prevent mental illness using a microbiological model.

Tiago Pires Marques, Global mental health, autonomy and medical paternalism: reconstructing the ‘French ethical tradition’ in psychiatry

In the last few decades, the definition of deontological ethics, a well-identified ethical territory in psychiatry, has been the object of increasing concerns. This has been the case in France, where claims of a specific ethical tradition in psychiatry have accompanied the institutionalization of psychiatric ethics and the perceived globalization of an Anglo-American model of mental health care. This study traces the history of the ‘French ethical tradition in psychiatry’ and its relationship with establishing institutional spaces for ethical decision-making. The ‘ethical tradition’ thus conceived proves to be functional in terms of preserving the threatened identity of French psychiatry. Nevertheless, this movement also pinpoints impasses that transcend the French context and may provide valuable resources for ethical reflections on mental health on a global scale.

Olivier Walusinski, Antoine-Marie Chambeyron (1797–1851): a forgotten disciple of Jean-Etienne Esquirol (1772–1840)

Antoine-Marie Chambeyron (1797–1851) was a disciple of Jean-Etienne Esquirol (1772–1840) that history forgot, undoubtedly because he made no original contribution to psychiatric nosography. In 1827, his interest in the medical-legal status of the insane led him to translate into French and annotate the first medical-legal psychiatric treatise ever published, which was the work of the German philosopher Johann Christoph Hoffbauer (1766–1827). His translation played a role in shaping the French Law of 1838, the first piece of modern legislation aimed at protecting the rights of mental patients and limiting the State’s power to confine them arbitrarily. Chambeyron is among the least-cited contributors to the prestigious work of nineteenth-century French alienists.

Gabriele Cipriani, Luca Cipriani and Mario Di Fiorino, Personality and destiny. Francesco Borromini: portrait of a tormented soul

Francesco Borromini, one of the great geniuses of Baroque architecture, was tormented and solitary, and was increasingly frustrated by the fame and success of his rival, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Borromini was an unhappy man, constantly dogged by disaster, quarrelling even with his best patrons and closest friends. In the culmination of one of the fits of depression that overcame the architect more and more frequently as his life progressed, Borromini literally fell on his own sword; he lingered in excruciating pain for 24 hours before dying. Largely forgotten, his architecture has again been recognized since the twentieth century as the creation of genius. We try to describe the personality and suicide of this pessimist giant of architecture.

Michael Fitzgerald, Why did Sigmund Freud refuse to see Pierre Janet? Origins of psychoanalysis: Janet, Freud or both?

Pierre Janet and Joseph Breuer were the true originators of psychoanalysis. Freud greatly elaborated on their findings. Freud initially admitted these facts but denied them in later life. Janet discovered the concept transference before Freud.

Magazine article – Why Freud Survives

170828_r30419

The New Yorker has published an article that might be of interest to H-Madness readers: Louis Menand, Why Freud Survives. He’s been debunked again and again—and yet we still can’t give him up.

 

Illustration by Armando Veve

New issue – Bulletin of the History of Medicine

front_cover

The Bulletin of the History of Medicine published its first issue of 2017 and includes at least two articles that could be of interest to H-madness readers.

Benjamin Zajicek, ‘Banning the Soviet Lobotomy: Psychiatry, Ethics, and Professional Politics during Late Stalinism’. The abstract reads:
This article examines how lobotomy came to be banned in the Soviet Union in 1950. The author finds that Soviet psychiatrists viewed lobotomy as a treatment of “last resort,” and justified its use on the grounds that it helped make patients more manageable in hospitals and allowed some to return to work. Lobotomy was challenged by psychiatrists who saw mental illness as a “whole body” process and believed that injuries caused by lobotomy were therefore more significant than changes to behavior. Between 1947 and 1949, these theoretical and ethical debates within Soviet psychiatry became politicized. Psychiatrists competing for institutional control attacked their rivals’ ideas using slogans drawn from Communist Party ideological campaigns. Party authorities intervened in psychiatry in 1949 and 1950, persecuting Jewish psychiatrists and demanding adherence to Ivan Pavlov’s theories. Psychiatrists’ existing conflict over lobotomy was adopted as part of the party’s own campaign against harmful Western influence in Soviet society.
Jennifer Lynn Lambe, ‘Revolutionizing Cuban Psychiatry: The Freud Wars, 1955–1970’. The abstract reads:
This article traces the battle over Freud within Cuban psychiatry from its pre-1959 origins through the “disappearance” of Freud by the early 1970s. It devotes particular attention to the visit of two Soviet psychiatrists to Cuba in the early 1960s as part of a broader campaign to promote Pavlov. The decade-long controversy over Freud responded to both theoretical and political concerns. If for some Freud represented political conservatism and theoretical mystification, Pavlov held out the promise of a dialectical materialist future. Meanwhile, other psychiatrists clung to psychodynamic perspectives, or at least the possibility of heterogeneity. The Freudians would end up on the losing side of this battle, with many departing Cuba over the course of the 1960s. But banishing Freud did not necessarily make for stalwart Pavlovians—or vanguard revolutionaries. Psychiatry would find itself relegated to a handmaiden position in the work of revolutionary mental engineering, with the government itself occupying the vanguard.

 

New book: Freud in Cambridge

51+1VWKEa6L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Cambridge University Press has published a book on Freud that might be of interest to readers of h-madness. Freud in Cambridge, written by John Forrester and Laura Cameron, wants to shed light on his influence on Cambridge intellectuals.

The abstract reads as follows:

Freud may never have set foot in Cambridge – that hub for the twentieth century’s most influential thinkers and scientists – but his intellectual impact there in the years between the two World Wars was immense. This is a story that has long languished untold, buried under different accounts of the dissemination of psychoanalysis. John Forrester and Laura Cameron present a fascinating and deeply textured history of the ways in which a set of Freudian ideas about the workings of the human mind, sexuality and the unconscious, affected Cambridge men and women – from A. G. Tansley and W. H. R. Rivers to Bertrand Russell, Bernal, Strachey and Wittgenstein – shaping their thinking across a range of disciplines, from biology to anthropology, and from philosophy to psychology, education and literature. Freud in Cambridge will be welcomed as a major intervention by literary scholars, historians and all readers interested in twentieth-century intellectual and scientific life.

“Cold War Freud” and “Freud: An Intellectual Biography” reviewed by Lisa Appignanesi (The Guardian)

H-Madness readers might be interested in the following article by Lisa Appignanesi. The piece, which was published today in The Guardian, is a review of Dagmar Herzog’s Cold War Freud (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Joel Whitebook’s Freud: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Still many strands to pursue … Sigmund Freud.

Cold War Freud and Freud: An Intellectual Biography review – the politics of psychoanalysis

A pair of rich, illuminating studies epitomise a new wave of thinking about the Freud wars and the history of analysis

If Freud, as Auden wrote in his 1939 elegy, is “a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives”, then it would be fair to say that the local weather patterns around him shift from temptestuous to clement with uncanny regularity. Geography inevitably plays into the picture.

There are actually only two (relative) constants in the diffusion of Freud’s invention, psychoanalysis, from 1906 on. One is the acceptance of the fact that each of us has an unconscious life: parts of ourselves that are hidden from our own view inform dreams, and shape unwitting remarks and behaviour. The second is the talk and listening technology of two people – the free-associating patient and the analyst engaged in an intimate therapeutic conversation. The rest of the huge and often subtle panoply of Freud’s ideas, developed and revised over a lifetime of practice and writing, has been – and is – up for grabs.

There is a wealth of material to pick over. From Freud’s first book, On Aphasia, published when he was 35, to his last, Moses and Monotheism, written just before his death at 83, there are 23 volumes of the standard edition, not to mention many thick tomes of reflective and revealing letters to his fiancee (then wife), Martha, and to friends andcolleagues, plus proceedings of international psychoanalytic meetings. Followers, interpreters, critics and bashers, reinventors and film-makers, slipper and watch manufacturers, in America, India, China, Europe, Africa and Latin America, can thus dispute, develop or make jokes about everything from the importance of the sex drive or libido to the dynamics of memory and repression; the relations between ego, id and superego; identification; therapeutic practice; cultural liberation and much more, including, of course, Freud’s own integrity – his scientific and medical status.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

 

Book announcement – Freud by Elisabeth Roudinesco

9780674659568-lg

The French Freud biography by Elisabeth Roudinesco has now be translated and published by Harvard University Press. The blurb reads

Élisabeth Roudinesco offers a bold and modern reinterpretation of the iconic founder of psychoanalysis. Based on new archival sources, this is Freud’s biography for the twenty-first century—a critical appraisal, at once sympathetic and impartial, of a genius greatly admired and yet greatly misunderstood in his own time and in ours.

Roudinesco traces Freud’s life from his upbringing as the eldest of eight siblings in a prosperous Jewish-Austrian household to his final days in London, a refugee of the Nazis’ annexation of his homeland. She recreates the milieu of fin de siècle Vienna in the waning days of the Habsburg Empire—an era of extraordinary artistic innovation, given luster by such luminaries as Gustav Klimt, Stefan Zweig, and Gustav Mahler. In the midst of it all, at the modest residence of Berggasse 19, Freud pursued his clinical investigation of nervous disorders, blazing a path into the unplumbed recesses of human consciousness and desire.

Yet this revolutionary who was overthrowing cherished notions of human rationality and sexuality was, in his politics and personal habits, in many ways conservative, Roudinesco shows. In his chauvinistic attitudes toward women, and in his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing threat of Hitler until it was nearly too late, even the analytically-minded Freud had his blind spots. Alert to his intellectual complexity—the numerous tensions in his character and thought that remained unresolved—Roudinesco ultimately views Freud less as a scientific thinker than as the master interpreter of civilization and culture.

For more information, click here.

%d bloggers like this: