Magazine September 11, 2017, Issue

The Death of Freud

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Freud: The Making of an Illusion, by Frederick Crews (Metropolitan, 768 pp., $40)

This is the longest but most engaging obituary I have ever read. Although it has been known for several years that Sigmund Freud has been on life support, the final demise of the man responsible for popularizing the unconscious comes nevertheless as a shock. As W. H. Auden once noted: “To us he is no more a person / Now but a whole climate of opinion.” Frederick Crews’s new biography demonstrates not just that this “climate of opinion” has disappeared but that psychoanalysis, as a specific method for the treatment of mental disorders, is also dead. Crews systematically and convincingly

E. Fuller Torrey — Mr. Torrey, a psychiatrist, is the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center ( and the author of The Insanity Offense: How America’s Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens (W. W. Norton).

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




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