Monday, January 22, 2007

Nick Hornby vs. Sigmund Freud

6. Housekeeping vs. The Dirt, Nick Hornby. Books on Book, 1-20, p. 153

Freud Inventor of the Modern Mind, Peter D. Kramer. Biography, 1-21, p. 211

I don’t think much more needs to be said about Housekeeping vs. The Dirt, a collection of Nick Hornby’s columns from Believer magazine. I raved about Hornby in an earlier post. Sufficient to say, Hornby is funny and spot on (almost always) in his observations on the books he’s read.

Freud Inventor of the Modern Mind by Peter D. Kramer is one of three recent entries in HarperCollins’ Eminent Lives series. I disliked this book – largely due to the subject matter – and would not recommend it.

Basically, I believe Freud was humbug and it will be interesting to see if he warrants a spot in a series like this 30 years. Listen to Kramer’s conclusions: “What, finally, do we make of Freud? . . . he was more devious and more self-aggrandizing than we had imagined him to be . . . There is a disturbing consistency in Freud’s indifference to inconvenient facts. The tendency runs through the whole of his career. His biographies . . . are as distorted as his case reports. His sociology and theology are as arbitrary as his clinical interpretations. Repeatedly, he is less original than he makes himself out to be. Where he is most innovative, he is least reliable.”

Alright then, to quote the Thing, “Nuff said.”

I finished the most recent issue of The New Yorker. It contained an interesting article by David Denby on the perilous state of movies today. I’ve read about 130 pages of Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons and will begin David Greenberg’s biography of Calvin Coolidge tomorrow.

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