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Peter Gay's Freud

While Ernest Jones' three-volume hagiography was sycophantic and defensive, with his own 1988 effort Peter Gay took derrière-licking to a whole new level—just in case you didn't think it possible after ploughing through his predecessor. One gets the image of Gay sighing with wistful admiration for the Master; his prose is infuriating, infantile, and gag-inducing. Yet the book is instructive, for, while Gay thought Freudian psychoanalysis a science, his hagiography reveals the extent to which Freud's pseudoscientific theories were autobiographical in origin and / or incredibly subjective. For this reason, Gay avoids getting zero stars.

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