A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, Rosenfield delivers in his first novel an intellectual spoof of the so-called "Freud Wars," which have been fought out in NYRB's pages and letters columns. The controversy pits luminaries like Frederick Crews, who dismiss Freudian explanations as pseudo-scientific, against intellectuals who believe Freud's work illuminates the deepest structures of the human psyche. Rosenfield imagines a lost manuscript in which Freud criticizes his own work. This manifesto is an addendum to Moses and Monotheism, Freud's last book. Here the Master realizes, at last, that the great force in human nature is not unconscious drives but self-deception--upon which he has built his own empire: psychoanalysis. Instead of a science, psychoanalysis turns out to be merely a ploy for attention--on a historic scale. The fun here is in the imitation of Freud's sometimes rambling style, and the scholarly armature with which Rosenfield surrounds his document. The work is introduced by a Prof. Albert J. Stewart, an anti-Freudian with his own axes to grind. The document's discovery leads to the story of Freud's heretofore secret love child, Emma, and his mistress, Adelaide Benesh. The endnotes refer to real and imaginary characters, many featured in the NYRB controversy. Freudophiles should enjoy parsing the numerous scholarly notes and research documents and deciding whether they are historically based, pure fiction or an ingenious blend; the descriptions of Freud as a presumptuous, arrogant lover and father are winning. Readers who follow current academic or literary controversies will find this novel amusing and expertly satiric, but the crux of the cleverness may remain mysterious for the uninitiated.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What if Freud had left a final paper declaring, revolutionarily, that morality arises not from the guilt caused by Oedipal desires but, instead, from simple fear of the absolute, unchallengeable authority demonstrated in megalomania? CUNY history professor Rosenfield makes just this the premise of his novel debutand produces a wonderful, chewy, intellectual delight. Rosenfield mixes real with fictional characters, giving Freud a mistress (and also a daughter by her), with whom he leaves his last paper, Megalomania, before departing from Europe forever. The paper, unread and unauthenticated, manages to survive WWII and come finally into the hands of Freuds granddaughter, who in turn brings it to the attention of cognitive scientist Professor Albert J. Stewart: and its Stewart who tells us about his own first and astonished reading of the paper, then presents it to us in toto with his own annotations, clarifications, and background comments. Stewart himself has just ended a five-year collaboration with one Norman Dicke, winner of the Looker Prize, creator of Loop Theory, and fabricator of a thinkingMarilyn Monroe robot. Framed by Stewarts tales of the despotic and despicable Dicke, Freuds paper becomes all the more riveting as it treats Freuds real-life and also despotic colleague, Nobelist Julius Wagner-Juarreg, who gave shock treatment to soldiers during WWI, declaring them malingerers rather than traumatized victims. He was cleared, in 1920, of charges of unethical practicethough the testimony Freud himself gave in the trial left him haunted ever after, feeling that he had failed to adequately defend . . . the young men who had been tortured. And the cause of his failure? Simply the sheer force of Wagner as megalomaniaca man so bold that he had perfected the art of lying to a point where truth had become unrecognizable, the sheer power of his fraud having become the truth. Fraud is Man, declares Freud in this brilliant, learned, ambitious, and wildly thought-provoking masterpiece of fictional revisionism. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description