Revisionist scholarship on Freud has become a total assault on his achievement. If it were to succeed, virtually nothing would be left to value in his work. What would remain is a view of his legacy as a poison in our culture that needs to be purged. Two recent publishing events show how far the anti-Freud attack has carried: a featured review of four works of revisionist literature by Frederick Crews in the highbrow New York Review of Books and a cover story in the middlebrow Time that raises the question, “Is Freud Dead?” Crews himself was once a distinguished practitioner of psychoanalytic criticism. The ferocity of his attack has all the animus of a resentful renegade, though he offers the reader no account of his own evolution from champion of psychoanalysis to implacable adversary. Freud, the riddle-solver, identified himself with Oedipus. In the eyes of Crews and others, he has become Laius, an invitation to parricide.
Crews devotes a good deal of space to ...
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