About this book
PETER GAY The syllabus of errors rehearsing the offenses of psychohistory looks devastating and seems irrefutable: crimes against the English language, crimes against sdentific procedures, crimes against common sense itself. These objects are real enough, but their contours-and their gravity mysteriously change with the perspective of the critic. From the outside, psychohistorians are to academic history what psychoanalysts are to academic psychology: a monolithic band of fanatics, making the same errors, committing the same offenses, aH in the same way. But seen close up, psychohistorians (just like psychoanalysts) turn out to be a highly differentiated, even a cheerfuHy contentious, lot. Disciples of Hartmann jostle discoverers of Kohut, imperialists claiming the whole domain of the past debate with modest isolationists, orthodox Freudians who insist that psychoanalysis engrosses the arsenal of psychohistorical method find themselves beleaguered by sociological revisionists. The charges that confound some psychohistorians glance off the armor of others. Yet there are three potent objections, aimed at the heart of psy chohistory, however it is conceived, that the psychohistorian ignores at his periI. It would be a convenient, but it is a whoHy unacceptable, defense to dismiss them as forms of resistance. The days are gone when the advocates of psychoanalysis could checkmate reasoned critidsms by psychoanalyzing the critic. To summarize these objections, psychohistory is Utopian, vulgar, ix x FOREWORD and trivial.
Freud psychoanalysis psychology