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This is the first study of Freud's texts to incorporate the intellectual findings of Adolf Grünbaum, the archival material published by Jeffrey Masson (the recently published correspondence between Freud and Wilhelm Fliess) and Lewin's profile of long-term cocaine users. Wilcocks challenges literary critics who have granted Freud's writings "scientific" status, and claims that the works are no more than the rhetorical deceptions of a talented writer. Through a careful examination of the Freud-Fliess correspondence and of Freud's case histories, and through a novel comparison of Freud's rhetorical devices with Poe's rhetoric of deception in the essay "Maelzel's Chess-Player," Wilcocks reveals that Freud was a talented but disturbed master of deception, including self-deception.
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Robert Wilcocks is professor of modern French literature at the University of Alberta.Review:
Through subtle apercus expressed in simple prose, Robert Wilcocks demonstrates the value of philosophical and literary approaches to Freud in a book that bubbles with ideas while revealing abundant evidence of close reading. (Roy Porter)
A formidable reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis as a science...An indispensable work for anyone within the specialized fields of psychiatry, psychology and other behavioral sciences [that] will prove attractive to those working in the areas which have been significantly touched by Freudian claims-namely the humanities, creative arts and the media....The scholarship is exceedingly thorough. It is a well-notated book and the extensive references are invariably worth reading. (Anthony W. Clare M.D., St. Patrick's Hospital, Dublin)
That psychoanalysis is nine-tenths pseudoscience has been apparent for decades, but not since Adolf Grünbaum's massive critique has there been a more trenchant, better documented proof of Freud's deceptions than this mind-opening book by Robert Wilcocks. One hardly knows whether to laugh or weep at the magnitude of Freud's baleful influence on psychiatry, the humanities-especially literary criticism and biography-and the sufferings of the mentally ill. (Martin Gardner, author of ^IThe New Age: Notes of a FringeWatcher^R)
'Take physic, psychopomp' is an apt prescription direction for Wilcock's purge of Freudian psuedoscience from the literary body critical. What a glorious deflation! (J. Allan Hobson, Harvard Medical School)
. . . a permanent contribution to Freud studies. (Frederick Crews.)
A brilliant new book. (The New York Review Of Books)
There is no other volume which so exposes the scientific pretensions of Freud's early work as illuminated by the Fliess correspondence. (Allen Esterson, author of Seductive Mirage: An Exploration of the Work of Sigmund Freud)
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