Features June 1984
The Freudian way of knowledge
On The Assault on Truth by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson & In the Freud Archives by Janet Malcolm.
Freud is a man given to absolute and exclusive formulations: this is a psychical need which, in my opinion, leads to excessive generalization.
—Josef Breuer, 1907 (Cranefield, 320)
For many connoisseurs of high-level gossip, irony, and scandal, some of the brightest moments of 1983 were provided by Janet Malcolm’s spellbinding articles in The New Yorker entitled “Trouble in the Archives.” The articles dealt with the uproar surrounding the firing of Jeffrey Masson as Projects Director of the Freud Archives, an important collection that has been largely restricted from scholars’ view in the Library of Congress for periods extending as far ahead as the year 2102. As Malcolm related, Masson, a brash, newly accredited lay analyst, had made himself something of a Trojan horse within that citadel....
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