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Freud and man's soul

Author: Bruno Bettelheim
Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1983, ©1982.
Series: Borzoi books
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The world-renowned psychoanalyst and child psychologist here gives us an unprecedented reading of Freud and an exhilarating vision of the true uses of psychoanalysis. He demonstrates that the English translations of Freud's writings only distort some of the central concepts of psychoanalysis but actually make it impossible for the reader to recognize that Freud's ultimate concern was man's soul, the basic element  Read more...
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Named Person: Sigmund Freud; Sigmund Freud; Sigmund Freud; Sigmund Freud; Sigmund Freud
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Bruno Bettelheim
ISBN: 0394524810 9780394524818
OCLC Number: 8493652
Description: xi, 111 pages ; 22 cm.
Series Title: Borzoi books
Responsibility: Bruno Bettelheim.

Abstract:

"The world-renowned psychoanalyst and child psychologist here gives us an unprecedented reading of Freud and an exhilarating vision of the true uses of psychoanalysis. He demonstrates that the English translations of Freud's writings only distort some of the central concepts of psychoanalysis but actually make it impossible for the reader to recognize that Freud's ultimate concern was man's soul, the basic element of our common humanity--what it is, how it manifests itself in everything we do and dream. And he shows that these translations, masking much of the essential humanism of Freud's work, have led to a tragic misunderstanding and widespread misuse of psychoanalysis, particularly in America. Reminding us that Freud analyzed his own dreams, his own slips of the tongue, and the reasons he himself made mistakes, Dr. Bettelheim makes clear that Freud created psychoanalysis not so much as a method of analyzing the behavior of other people but as a way for each of us to gain access to (and, where possible, control of) his own unconscious--a goal impeded by English translations in which Freud becomes impersonal, esoteric, abstract, 'scientific,' translations that discourage the reader from embarking on his own voyage of self-discovery and that make it easy for him to distance himself from what Freud sought to teach about the inner life of man and of the reader himself. Startling examples are given of mistranslations. Dr. Bettelheim (who is, as Freud was, a German-speaking Viennese) reveals how in the English versions nearly all of Freud's references to the soul have been corrupted (for example, Seelentätigkeit--'activity of the soul'--is translated as 'mental activity'). He demonstrates that Freud's English translators, because of their determination to perceive psychoanalysis as a medical science, have consistently resorted to the technical Greco-Latinisms of the medical profession--with such terms as 'parapraxis,' 'cathexis' and 'scopophilia'--in rendering German words that Freud chose specifically for their humanistic resonance, for their power to evoke in his German readers not only an intellectual but also an emotional response. And Dr. Bettelheim makes us realize how these mistranslations--perhaps most notable among them the rendering into 'English' of the homely German words ich and es with the distant Latin ego and id--have had a profound effect on both the practice and the history of psychoanalysis. This eloquent, passionately argued, deeply illuminating book is urgent reading for everyone interested in psychoanalysis and for all who seek a humanistic approach to psychology--so central to Freud and so unrecognizable in the English translations of his writings. It is certain to take its place among the classic works of Bruno Bettelheim."--Dust jacket.

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