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January 1966

Sigmund the Unserence—A Tragedy in Three Acts.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;14(1):108-109. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730070110015

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FREUD FAILED AS SCIENTIST, EXCELLED AS WRITER  Inept as a medical scientist and unsuccessful as a would-be-secular-rabbi, this ambitious Jewish physician won a kind of fame, not quite what he wanted, by the formulation and propagation of psychological metaphors and myths; he got the Goethe prize; his followers developed an idolatrous cult; but Freud remained basically unsatisfied.Psychoanalytic theorizing has an unwarranted ascendancy in psychiatric training; psychiatry needs a broader biological perspective.So crude a summary condensation would not, perhaps, be acceptable to Percival Bailey, the erudite author of this elegantly written and carefully documented critique of Sigmund Freud's life and works. Teachers of psychiatry and other interested persons will, of course, wish to read it in full, and will find it clear and eloquent—and probably irritating.Much of the criticism is aimed at deflating the idealized image of Freud which has become the object of cultist adulation. Concerned, as

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