July 17, 1987

Freud and the Rat Man

Author Affiliations

Boyd, Mont

Boyd, Mont


by Patrick J. Mahony, 241 pp, $23.50, New Haven, Conn, Yale University Press, 1986.

JAMA. 1987;258(3):390-391. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400030106050

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Freud's On Aphasia was published in 1891, with major discoveries or publications each subsequent year through 1939. Patrick Mahony notes that "of all the intellectual giants who lived in the twentieth century, Freud has had the greatest cultural influence." A concourse of gifted investigators followed in his track, among them zealous proponents and critics, detractors and defenders, sifters of documents, and seekers of motes. Today we have the perspective of almost a half-century on all of this, and we can discern in present-day psychoanalytic work three vigorous intermingling currents. The broad stream devotes itself to clinical treatment and the training of therapists.

A second continuous movement, more swift-flowing and intricate perhaps, is concerned with the framework of theory and the growth of psychoanalysis as a science. One example, among many, is the attempt of Jacques Lacan and colleagues of the Société Française de Psychoanalyse to utilize the methods and findings