Psychoanalysis and Democracy

Psychoanalysis and Democracy

The exhibition Freud: Conflict and Culture opened at the Library of Congress last October after several years of highly publicized controversy and one postponement. Not since King Tut came to New York’s Metropolitan Museum in the early seventies has an exhibition caused so much commotion. But given the subject matter, the cast of characters, and our sensation-hungry press, this couldn’t have been otherwise.

Here are the facts. In June 1994, the Library of Congress, which has the largest collection of Freud manuscripts in the world, announced it was planning a major exhibition on Freud in May 1996. Such an exhibit hadn’t been feasible before because many of the papers could not be used owing to legal restrictions concerning patient-doctor confidentiality. The exhibition was possible now because of an arrangement that allowed access to many documents that had formerly been sealed.

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Lima