FREUDIAN SLIPS: THE CASUALTIES OF PSYCHOANALYSIS FROM THE WOLF MAN TO MARILYN MONROE
by Luciano Mecacci
Dimensions: 206 x 130 x 12 mm
Publication: 8 April 2009
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This historical and scientific study of psychoanalysis and its founding group brings together Luciano Mecacci’s own work and existing material, and presents the reading public with a story that is not only fascinating and terrible but also essential and thought-provoking, given the enormous influence of Freud’s ideas on European art, writing and wider culture throughout most of the twentieth century(perhaps coinciding almost exactly with what has been defined as the Short Century: 1914-1991).
It is important to distinguish between Freud the scientist and Freud the creative thinker. The former often lacked rigour and allowed his ideas to run audaciously and even rashly ahead of the evidence he had collected. The latter, on the other hand, was brilliant, innovative and prolific, but the material produced was untested, as Mecacci demonstrates quite convincingly, and therefore not suitable for clinical application. Freud’s psychoanalytical therapy established a movement and set in train a series of often tragic events, which were almost always ignored or glossed-over at the time of their occurrence. Mecacci argues that there was nothing casual about these, and their roots are to be found in the manner in which the psychoanalytical movement was born and the historical context — dark times of war, economic crisis and xenophobia that affected both analysts and their patients.
The observations of psychoanalysis were also the obsessions of the short century, and now they have worked they way through, they can appear old-fashioned, but their residue persists in our thinking, and we would do well to re-examine what was useful and what was dangerous in this remarkable history. The belated publication of Freudian Slips, the English translation of Marilyn M. e altri disastri della psicoanalisi (Rome: Laterza, 2000), will allow professionals, students and general readers to do just that.