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GREAT IDEAS V THE WOLFMAN

Great Ideas
Sigmund Freud - Author
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Book: Paperback | 111 x 181mm | 160 pages | ISBN 9780141192208 | 21 Sep 2010 | Penguin
GREAT IDEAS V THE WOLFMAN

This is Freud's groundbreaking study of a wealthy young Russian man, subject to psychotic episodes and neuroses. Through the patient's dream of childhood wolves, Freud was able to determine his real problem - that of infantile neurosis brought about by a sexual complex and an Oedipal fixation.

GREAT IDEAS. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

Student review by Kimberley Chen, studied at Queen Mary University of London

Controversial figure and father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, presents a lucid and fascinating account of how he diagnosed a deeply disturbed Russian man he has intriguingly named the ‘Wolfman’. Freud discusses the difficulties in analysing his patient’s psychological problems due to his patient’s initial unwillingness to be treated, and his patient’s inability to locate when key events in his life actually occurred. The patient as a young boy was at first a calm, peaceful and mild mannered child. However, when the boy’s parents return from a summer holiday they discover the boy’s behaviour has radically altered for the worse. Such oddities in his behaviour include making a hobby out of cruelty towards small creatures. This includes maliciously wrenching off the wings of flies, crushing beetles and slicing caterpillars. He is also subject to darkly depressive moods, an extremely bad temper and wild, intense fury at the most trivial scenarios.

The main focus of Freud’s analysis is his patient’s rather strange and unsettling dream of his bedroom window opening of its own accord to reveal six or seven white wolves perched on a walnut tree. Thus, begins the patient’s complex phobia of wolves, as the readers become increasingly absorbed by Freud’s quest to source the origin of his patient’s woes. Freud demonstrates that dreams are not merely a random and meaningless heap of images, but instead these dreams are very revealing indicators of the secret yearnings of an unconscious mind. Additionally, another strong and significant Freudian idea is that there are aspects of our own nature that are unknowable and incomprehensible to our very selves, because we repress or hide certain emotions. Moreover, there are even some unexpected and surprising connections; for instance, Freud makes a link between two very different items, a butterfly and a pear. Sigmund Freud’s The ‘Wolfman’ explores rivalry and jealousy within the familial institution, narcissism and eating disorders in a highly interesting, important and thought-provoking piece of work. 


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