Winner of the 2003 Gradiva Award for the Best Book on Theory (National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis)
In a stunning fusion of literary criticism and intellectual history, Peter L. Rudnytsky explores the dialectical interplay between literature and psychoanalysis by reading key psychoanalytic texts in a variety of genres. He maps the origins of the contemporary relational tradition in the lives and work of three of Freud's most brilliant and original disciples—Otto Rank, Sándor Ferenczi, and Georg Groddeck. Rudnytsky, a scholar with an unsurpassed knowledge of the world of clinical psychoanalysis, espouses the "relational turn" as an alternative to both ego psychology and postmodernism.
Rudnytsky seeks to alter the received view of the psychoanalytic landscape, in which the towering figure of Freud has continued to obscure the achievements of his followers who individually resisted and collectively went beyond him. Reading Psychoanalysis offers the most detailed and comprehensive treatments available in English of such classic texts as Freud's case of Little Hans, Rank's The Incest Theme in Literature and Legend, and Groddeck's The Book of the It. Rudnytsky's argument for object relations theory concludes by boldly affirming the possibility of a "consilience" between scientific and hermeneutic modes of knowledge.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"Peter Rudnytsky's interdisciplinary reading of psychoanalysis is smart, sharp, original, and provocative. Reading Psychoanalysis is a major contribution to the history of the relational tradition in psychoanalysis. Rudnytsky passionately and persuasively argues for the dialectical inclusion of both science and hermeneutics to guarantee the future of psychoanalysis."—Lewis Aron, Director, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University
"Few practicing analysts or scholars in the field will have read more widely or more attentively than Peter Rudnytsky. His training in literary criticism has produced a mode of comparative reading that sheds fresh light on familiar texts and brings into prominence others that are neglected today. Rudnytsky is shrewd in his judgments and encyclopedic in his scholarship, but graceful and always readable in his style."—Robert R. Holt, author of Freud Reappraised: A Fresh Look at Psychoanalytic Theory
"Reading Psychoanalysis is engaging and full of intriguing insights. Peter Rudnytsky's passion for historical accuracy and critical engagement supplies the missing link between Freud and the school of object relations theory that currently predominates in Britain and the United States."—Madelon Sprengnether, author of The Spectral Mother: Freud, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis
"Thoughtful, compelling, engagingly written . . . Reading Psychoanalysis is a groundbreaking text that has much to teach us of our past and present."—Ernst Prelinger, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (December 2012)
"It is a labor of love. . . . This volume is leisurely, informative, and often entertaining reading for reflective students of psychoanalytic history."—Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases
"Rudnytsky deserves respect for his overall ability to remain neutral when assessing the merits and limitations of each analyst without showing dogmatic loyalties."—Psychologist-Psychoanalyist, Winter 2004
"Rudnytsky concludes the story of the division of psychoanalysis with a 'dream of consilience,' devoutly to be wished perhaps, yet one that the reader can only reach by walking over the hot coals of creative envy and murderous jealousy to be cooled in the holy waters where science and art run together."—John O'Neill, Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences (Spring 2004)