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Freud : in his time and ours / Élisabeth Roudinesco ; translated by Catherine Porter.

  • Roudinesco, Elisabeth, 1944-
  • Books

About this work

Also known as

Sigmund Freud en son temps et dans le nôtre. English


Élisabeth Roudinesco offers a bold and modern reinterpretation of the iconic founder of psychoanalysis. Based on new archival sources, this is Freud's biography for the twenty-first century--a critical appraisal, at once sympathetic and impartial, of a genius greatly admired and yet greatly misunderstood in his own time and in ours. Roudinesco traces Freuds life from his upbringing as the eldest of eight siblings in a prosperous Jewish-Austrian household to his final days in London, a refugee of the Nazis' annexation of his homeland. She recreates the milieu of fin de siecle Vienna in the waning days of the Habsburg Empire--an era of extraordinary artistic innovation, given luster by such luminaries as Gustav Klimt, Stefan Zweig, and Gustav Mahler. In the midst of it all, at the modest residence of Berggasse 19, Freud pursued his clinical investigation of nervous disorders, blazing a path into the unplumbed recesses of human consciousness and desire. Yet this revolutionary who was overthrowing cherished notions of human rationality and sexuality was, in his politics and personal habits, in many ways conservative, Roudinesco shows. In his chauvinistic attitudes toward women, and in his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing threat of Hitler until it was nearly too late, even the analytically-minded Freud had his blind spots. Alert to his intellectual complexity--the numerous tensions in his character and thought that remained unresolved--Roudinesco ultimately views Freud less as a scientific thinker than as the master interpreter of civilization and culture.


Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2016.

Physical description

ix, 580 pages ; 25 cm


"First published as Sigmund Freud en son temps et dans le notre"--Title page verso.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 511-554) and index.


Part One. The life -- Beginnings -- Loves, tempests, ambitions -- The invention of psychoanalysis -- Part Two. The conquest -- The Belle Époque -- Disciples and dissidents -- The discovery of America -- The war of nations -- Part Three. At home -- Dark enlightenment -- Families, dogs, objects -- The art of the couch -- Among women -- Part Four. The final years -- Between fetish medicine and religion -- Facing Hitler -- Death at work.



  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    BZP (Freud)
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780674659568
  • 0674659562