Category Archives: psychoanalytical writing

New ways of understanding youth

Dalrymple writes that Hermine Hug-Hellmuth was

sycophantically respectful of and grateful to Sigmund Fraud, which meant that, being the kind of man that he was, she remained in his good books. This was not the case with Freud’s daughter, Anna, who could not forgive her for having been the first to apply psychoanalysis to children, which is how she, Anna, wanted to be known. Pettiness and spite have always been the hallmarks of psychoanalysis, despite its claims to wisdom.

She was leading an arid existence, involving herself

in an arcane sect that contributed nothing to human understanding. Rather, the reverse: it erected elaborate screens of absurd theory between people and their proper self-reflection or self-examination.

She had an illegitimate elder half-sister, Antoine, who in 1906 gave birth to an illegitimate son called Rudolf. In 1924, Rudolf murdered Hermine brutally, shortly after publication of her book, Neue Wege zum Verständnis der Jugend: Psychoanalytische Vorlesungen für Eltern, Lehrer, Erzieher, Schulärzte, Kindergärtnerinnen und Fürsorgerinnen. It is hard, says Dalrymple,

to suppress a smile at the irony of it.

The literary equivalent of toothache

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 22.19.39Much psychoanalytical writing, writes Dalrymple,

has all the stylistic flair and intellectual excitement of a speech by the late Leonid Brezhnev.

While the founder of psychoanalysis was, Dalrymple says,

a brilliant author and may profitably be read by anyone, the writings of his followers are readable only as an act of religious devotion, even of contrition.

Indeed, psychoanalytical writing can be

painful to read, paragraph after paragraph conveying little or no sense, with no detectable difference in meaning when I convert affirmative sentences into their negatives.

Language is used

imprecisely and with little regard for aesthetic considerations. Style is often so barbarous that meaning can only be glimpsed, as through a glass darkly.

Brezhnevian psychoanalytic xyloglottism

Much psychoanalytical writing, writes Dalrymple, has 'all the stylistic flair and intellectual excitement of a speech by Leonid Brezhnev'. Such langue de bois can  be read or heard only 'as an act of religious devotion, or even of contrition'.

Much psychoanalytical writing, writes Dalrymple, has ‘all the stylistic flair and intellectual excitement of a speech by Leonid Brezhnev’. Such langue de bois can be read or heard only ‘as an act of religious devotion, or even of contrition‘.