Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1893-1913: Histories and Historiography (Paperback)
  • Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1893-1913: Histories and Historiography (Paperback)
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Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1893-1913: Histories and Historiography (Paperback)

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Paperback 468 Pages / Published: 15/03/2020
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Historians and biographers of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychology, medicine and culture, even Wikipedia, believe Ernest Jones discovered Freud in 1904 and had become the first English-speaking practitioner of psychoanalysis by 1906. Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1893-1913 offers radically different versions to that monolithic Account propagated by Jones over 70 years ago. Detailed readings of the contemporaneous literature expose the absurdities of Jones's claim, arguing that he could not have been using psychoanalysis until after he exiled himself to Canada in September 1908. Removing Jones reveals vibrant British cultures of 'Mind Healing' which serve as backdrops for widespread interest in Freud. First; the London Psychotherapeutic Society whose volunteer staff of mesmerists, magnetists, hypnotists and spiritualists offered free psycho-therapeutic treatments. Then the wondrous Walford Bodie, who wrought his free 'miraculous cures,' on and off the music-hall stage, to adoring and hostile audiences alike. Then the competing religious and spiritual groups actively promoting their own faith healings, often in reaction to fears of Christian Science but often cow-towing to orthodox medical and clerical orthodoxies. From this strange milieu emerged medically qualified practitioners, like Edwin Ash, Betts Taplin, and Douglas Bryan, who embraced hypnotism and psychotherapy. From 1904 British Medical Journals began discussing Freud's work and by 1908 psychiatrists, working in lunatic asylums, were already testing and applying his theories in the treatment of patients. The medically qualified psychotherapists, who formed the Medical Society for the Study of Suggestive Therapeutics, soon joined with medical members from the Society for Psychical Research in discussing, proselytizing, and practising psychoanalysis. Thus when Jones returned to London, in late summer 1913, there were thriving psychotherapeutic cultures with talk of Freud and psychoanalysis occupying medical journals and conferences. Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1893-1913, with its meticulous research, wide sweep of vision and detailed understanding of the subtle inter-connections between the orthodox and the unorthodox, the lay and the medical, the social and the biographical, as well as the byzantine complexities of British medical politics, will radically alter your understanding of how those early twentieth century 'Mind Healing' debates helped shape the ways in which the 'talking cure' first started infiltrating our lives.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498505246
Number of pages: 468
Weight: 689 g
Dimensions: 221 x 154 x 34 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
There is a great deal to be enjoyed in the vast range of densely researched histories and personalities here, which together make up a kind of kaleidoscopic grab bag of ideas, quotations, debates, and stories. . . [a] prodigious amount of research and scholarship . . . has gone into this book. Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1893 to 1913 will be of interest both to historians of psychoanalysis and to anyone wishing to learn more about the wider history of mind healing at the turn of the century. * Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences *
Kuhn's book is the first in-depth study of this gradual infiltration of psychoanalytical ideas into Britain during those early years. He has trawled back issues of The Lancet and the British Medical Journal not to speak of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research or a host of other obscurer sources. (His 36-page bibliography can be treated as a chapter on its own, well worth studying.) Armed with this exhaustive research, he is able to reassess the prevailing climate in and around the medical professions and to demonstrate that, alongside the notorious hostility towards psychoanalysis, there was a much wider measure of interest and involvement in the new method than had hitherto been assumed on the basis of Jones's version. * Psychoanalysis and History *
Philip Kuhn's book. . .is a detailed, closely researched study of the early days of psychoanalysis in Britain within broad medical and social contexts. Kuhn provides a meticulous examination and a close textual reading of contemporary sources to look at the last years of the 19th century and the era before the outbreak of the Great War. . . . It is a valuable and densely researched contribution and would be of interest to both psychologists and historians of the human sciences, as well as to those interested in the emergence of psychotherapy in Britain in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. * British Journal of Psychology *
It is this psychoanalytic impulse, to insist upon a long overdue conversation around the unknown-known, that gives both the Kuhn and Forrester and Cameron studies their sense of urgency. In what, for both books, is otherwise a thicket of document and dusty detail, their narratives are brimming with sparkling little novelties, alive with anecdote and animated by a compelling readability. Partly, this is due to the wealth of biographical material they offer, the delight the reader has in being plunged into the subterranean and eccentric lives of the famous and the long forgotten alike. But behind this is the real urgency, the quiet indignation as to why this history has been neglected for so long in the face of so much readily available and widely accessible evidence, both inside and outside the archives. * Sitegeist: A Journal of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy *
Kuhn's detailed reconstructions will constitute a highly valuable tool for anyone trying to understand how Freudian psychoanalysis emerged, in a slow process of differentiation, in the Anglophone world out of a field of psychotherapeutic discourses and practices coinhabited by Christian Scientists, hypnotists, and other "mental healers." It complements some of the best older historical studies. * Isis *
The story of the arrival of psychoanalysis in the United Kingdom has usually been told as a kind of missionary adventure: a tale in which Ernest Jones and a handful of farsighted colleagues scandalized Edwardian society with the news of Freud's discovery of the unconscious. Philip Kuhn's new study reveals a far richer and stranger history. He shows how in the years before the First World War, Freud's ideas were taken up and reworked around older psychotherapeutic traditions by spiritual healers, asylum psychiatrists, stage hypnotists, suffrage campaigners, magnetic aristocrats, educational investigators, and psychical researchers. Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1893-1913 is a detailed and provocative portrait of a lost world of psychological healing that will compel readers to rethink their ideas of the medical and the human sciences in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. -- Rhodri Hayward, Queen Mary University of London
Philip Kuhn has written a much-needed and insightful analysis of the formative years of psychoanalysis in Britain. The key period before the outbreak of the First World War has remained obscured by myth and obfuscation. By scrupulous research and questioning, this lucid and measured study brings a new understanding of key individuals and the impact of psychoanalytical thought on the broader medical community. It is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the evolution and politics of psychotherapy in the United Kingdom. -- Edgar Jones, King's College London
It is this psychoanalytic impulse, to insist upon a long overdue conversation around the unknown-known, that gives both the Kuhn and Forrester and Cameron studies their sense of urgency. In what, for both books, is otherwise a thicket of document and dusty detail, their narratives are brimming with sparkling little novelties, alive with anecdote and animated by a compelling readability. Partly, this is due to the wealth of biographical material they offer, the delight the reader has in being plunged into the subterranean and eccentric lives of the famous and the long forgotten alike. But behind this is the real urgency, the quiet indignation as to why this history has been neglected for so long in the face of so much readily available and widely accessible evidence, both inside and outside the archives." * Sitegeist: A Journal of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy *

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