, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 83–88 | Cite as

Crews’s Last Stand

Frederick Crews. Freud: The Making of an Illusion. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2017. 747 pp. $40.00. ISBN 978-1627797177
  • Howard L. KayeEmail author

In the late 1960s, scholar Frederick Crews was one of the leading proponents of psychoanalytically-informed literary criticism. By the early 1970s, however, Crews had become so disenchanted with a Freudian approach to literary texts— “[it] lent itself to so many contradictory avenues of interpretation” without ever “leading to any final clarity or resolution” (quoted in Dufresne 1999, p. 43)— that he began to question the validity of the entire psychoanalytic enterprise. Going public with his concerns, Crews soon became one of the most effective and culturally influential of all Freud’s many critics and has remained so for the last four decades. Armed with a sharp intellect and even sharper pen, and commanding the high ground afforded him by the New York Review of Books, which has long deployed him as their go-to reviewer on Freudian matters, Crews has popularized and weaponized the vast literature produced by Freud skeptics and ‘bashers.’ Thanks to his efforts, and the efforts of...


Further Reading

  1. Brabant, E., Falzeder, E., & Giampieri-Deutsch, P. (Eds.). 1993. The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi, Vol. 1, 1908–1914. Trans. by P. T. Hoffer. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Burnham, J. C. 2006. The ‘New Freud Studies’: A Historiographical Shift. Journal of the Historical Society, 6, 213–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Crews, F. 1998. Unauthorized Freud: Doubters Confront a Legend. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  4. Crews, F., et al. 1995. The Memory Wars: Freud’s Legacy in Dispute. New York: A New York Review Book.Google Scholar
  5. Decker, H. S. 1991. Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dufresne, T. 1999. The Making of a Freud Skeptic: An Interview with Frederick Crews. Skeptic, 7(3), 42–49.Google Scholar
  7. Freud, E. L. (Ed.) 1960. Letters of Sigmund Freud. Translated by Tania and James Stern. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Freud, S. [1923] 1961. The Ego and the Id. Pp. 12–66 in Standard Edition vol. 19.Google Scholar
  9. Kaye, H. L. 2003. Was Freud a Medical Scientist or a Social Theorist? The Mysterious ‘Development of the Hero. Sociological Theory, 21(4), 375–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Klein, D. B. 1985. Jewish Origins of the Psychoanalytic Movement. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Masson, J. M., ed. and trans. 1985. The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887–1904. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Stourzh, G. 2007. From Vienna to Chicago and Back: Essays on Intellectual History and Political Thought in Europe and America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyFranklin and Marshall CollegeLancasterUSA

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