Sigmund Freud Tried Thwarting Biographers. That Didn’t Stop Adam Phillips.
The esteemed author talks about all the reasons the founder of psychoanalysis would have objected to a new examination of his life
This is a sponsored podcast on behalf of Yale University Press and their Jewish Lives series.
Sigmund Freud nearly boasted of the fact that he was ignorant of “everything that concerned Judaism.” He also held a deep mistrust of biography—so much so that the father of psychoanalysis burned his papers in order to try to thwart would-be future biographers. So you can see why Adam Phillips may have been daunted by the suggestion that he write a biography of Freud for Yale University Press’s Jewish Lives series. Nevertheless, he decided to have a go at it.
A psychoanalyst, the editor of the Penguin Modern Classic translations of Freud published in 2006, and an accomplished writer, Phillips took on the task of exploring Freud’s early years in Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst. Phillips joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss Freud’s strong identification with Jewishness even as he rejected religion, his perilous and revealing indifference to the politics of his day, and what Freud’s teachings have to offer us today.
An explosive debate erupts from footnotes suggesting that Ashkenazi Jews are Europeans