The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism

Mark Edmundson

The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism

When Hitler invaded Vienna in the winter of 1938, Sigmund Freud, old and desperately ill, was among the city's 175,000 Jews dreading Nazi occupation. Here Mark Edmundson traces Hitler and Freud's oddly converging lives, then zeroes in on the last two years of Freud's life, during which he was rescued and brought to London. Edmundson probes Freud's ideas about secular death and the rise of fascism and fundamentalism, and grapples with the demise of psychoanalysis after Freud's death now that religious fundamentalism is once again shaping world events. 4.5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Paperback
Pages 288
RRP £8.99
Date of Publication August 2008
ISBN 978-0747592983
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

When Hitler invaded Vienna in the winter of 1938, Sigmund Freud, old and desperately ill, was among the city's 175,000 Jews dreading Nazi occupation. Here Mark Edmundson traces Hitler and Freud's oddly converging lives, then zeroes in on the last two years of Freud's life, during which he was rescued and brought to London. Edmundson probes Freud's ideas about secular death and the rise of fascism and fundamentalism, and grapples with the demise of psychoanalysis after Freud's death now that religious fundamentalism is once again shaping world events.

First published in August 2007.

Reviews

The Sunday Times

Bryan Appleyard

In the end, Edmundson’s Freud saw himself as Moses, the supreme Jewish leader, intellectual and lawgiver, and the hero of Moses and Monotheism, one of his last and most controversial books. His death was that of a patriarch. But it was that of a patriarch whose life had consisted of a long warning of the perils of patriarchy, of tyranny and fundamentalism, of our wounded psyches. Such is the paradox of this amazing man. This book, readable and thrilling, should, I need hardly add, be read.

12/08/2007

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The Guardian

Jonathan Derbyshire

The death of Sigmund Freud was a drawn-out affair - a protracted battle, on the one hand, with the oral cancer that he had lived with since 1923 and a struggle, on the other, to finish his final book, Moses and Monotheism, before the Nazis overran Vienna, where he had lived since he was a child. Edmundson deftly entwines the gripping story of the dying Freud's flight to England after the Anschluss in 1938 with a persuasive case for his standing as a political thinker.

01/09/2008

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The Literary Review

John Gray

The Death of Sigmund Freud is a wonderfully engaging account of Freud's last year. It is also a meditation on the human need for authority that makes a compelling claim for the importance of Freud as a political thinker.

15/04/2009

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The Observer

Robert Collins

In this effortlessly readable investigation into Freud's thinking on fascism and power, Mark Edmundson draws a compelling cameo of Hitler and Freud's parallel lives in Vienna. He's not afraid to point out the paradoxes in Freud's own life, as 'the great cultural patriarch, who stood for nothing so much as the dismantling of patriarchy'.

24/08/2008

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The Daily Telegraph

Nicholas Shakespeare

Edmundson clears the weeds that have grown up about Freud's name and rescues his ideas from the choking language of psychobabble. It's a fascinating book: crisp, pacy, accessible, relevant.

11/08/2007

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The Times

Ross Leckie

A novel angle: what Freud has to teach us about fascism in general, and Freud's fellow Austrian, Adolf Hitler, in particular. It is fertile, fascinating material and Edmundson works it well. He gives us, insofar as he can, Freud's and Hitler's parallel and intersecting lives.

14/08/2008

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The Los Angeles Times

Michael S. Roth

Edmundson, a professor of English at the University of Virginia, sees Freud’s legacy in broadly cultural (not medical) terms. But he connects these general terms with Freud’s emigration after the Nazi absorption of Austria and with the writing projects completed during the old man’s final struggle with cancer. Edmundson’s treatment of Freud’s greater significance and the particular historical conditions of his life makes this brief book an engaging read.

23/09/2007

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