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Freud's Paranoid Quest

Psychoanalysis and Modern Suspicion

John Farrell

Publication Year: 1998

Freud's Paranoid Quest is an exceptionally broad-ranging and well-written book....Whether or not one agrees with certain of his arguments and assessments, one must acknowledge the remarkable intelligence that is displayed on nearly every page.
--Louis Sassauthor of Madness and Modernism and The Paradoxes of Delusion

John Farrell's Freud's Paranoid Quest is the most trenchant, exhilarating and illuminating book I have encountered in many years. [The book] should be pondered not just by all students of Freud's thought but by everyone who senses that 'advanced modernity' has by now outstayed its welcome.
--Frederick CrewsUniversity of California, Berkeley

In Freud's Paranoid Quest, John Farrell analyzes the personality and thought of Sigmund Freud in order to give insight into modernity's paranoid character and into the true nature of Freudian psychoanalysis. John Farrell's Freud is not the path-breaking psychologist he claimed to be, but the fashioner and prisoner of a total system of suspicion. The most gifted of paranoids, Freud deployed this system as a self-heroizing myth and a compelling historical ideology.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece

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pp. ix

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pp. xi

An early version of the epilogue was published in the Harvard Review and is reprinted with the kind permission of Stratis Haviaris. Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness are quoted with the permission of Harvard...

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pp. 1-9

Henry James spent his last afternoons as Napoleon, ordering furniture by imperial fiat. Friedrich Nietzsche late in his career assumed the titles of Caesar and of "The Crucified." August Strindberg, exhilarated by a letter from "Nietzsche Caesar," signed his reply...

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1. From Primal Father to Paranoid

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pp. 10-27

The attempt to describe paranoid psychology began with a great work of comic fiction: an elderly and decrepit gentleman, crazed with the reading of vulgar romances, becomes suddenly convinced that he is a knight-errant born to restore a golden age of chivalry...

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2. Paranoid Logic

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pp. 28-40

The psychoanalytic history of the human species that I have reconstructed from Freud's works in order to expose the historical dimensions of his theory of paranoia would not now be recognized by most Freudians as valid. It rests upon scientific principles...

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3. Paranoid Psychology

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pp. 41-65

Recent thinking about the psychology of paranoia has tended strongly to discourage Freud's contention that it has a single cause or represents a single condition. 'Paranoia' now accompanies a broad range of conditions, rarely, if ever, occurring...

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4. Before Freud

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pp. 66-95

For seven or eight decades now, it has been impossible to give any writer credit for psychological insight without making the claim that he or she anticipated Freud. For the twentieth century Freud represents psychological insight itself—the form of intelligence...

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5. Freudian Satire

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pp. 96-130

Freud's ability to digest the suspicious logic of his precursors and to reformulate it in the terms of a science must be accounted one of the great elements of his success. But it is not the whole of it: his rhetorical genius must also share a large...

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6. Freud as Quixote

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pp. 131-166

In The Interpretation of Dreams, the paranoid logic, psychology, and rhetoric of psychoanalysis, which have been the subjects of the preceding chapters, combine in perfect harmony. The work takes the form of a romance, a quest...

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7. The Charismatic Paranoid

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pp. 167-212

In the first chapter of Part Two of Don Quixote, the barber of La Mancha tells the mad knight, now in confinement, a story that bears upon his own...

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pp. 213-216

By way of conclusion, let us enumerate the main points of the argument, along with a few more general implications: 1. Freud was correct in his claim that paranoia has a special connection with modern culture but wrong about the character of that...

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pp. 217-221

In the late afternoon of August 27, 1979, while descending from the # 16 trolley on the outskirts of Amsterdam, I was hailed in French by a man in a tattered jacket leaning on a cane who introduced himself as Rico Julien Marie Lucien...


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pp. 223-255

Works Cited

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pp. 257-265


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pp. 267-275

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814728826
E-ISBN-10: 0814728820
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814726501
Print-ISBN-10: 081472650X

Page Count: 275
Publication Year: 1998