Freud and the Vicissitudes of Modernism in the United States, 1940–1980

Dorothy Ross

in After Freud Left

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780226081373
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226081397 | DOI:
Freud and the Vicissitudes of Modernism in the United States, 1940–1980

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This chapter argues that the rise and fall of Sigmund Freud's influence among intellectuals can be understood best by following the changes that occurred in their ideas of modernism from 1940 to 1980. Psychoanalysis was a modernist invention, and the high point of modernism in the United States co-occurred with the high point of the impact of Freud's ideas. Modernism was the lens that determined changing political and cultural anxieties into changing estimates of Freudian ideas. The respect that Lionel Trilling imparted on Freud was widespread in intellectual and academic communities. Like Trilling's, Philip Rieff's Freud was an Apollonian voice of civilization and a defender of the modernist individual. In general, Freud was a significant marker of the dissolution of the modernist ascendancy at mid-century into the postmodern multiplicity and ideological polarization of the twentieth century's fin-de-siècle.

Keywords: modernism; Sigmund Freud; psychoanalysis; United States; Freudian ideas; Lionel Trilling; Philip Rieff

Chapter.  11942 words. 

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