Elizabeth Young-Bruehl is a professor at Haverford College and a member of the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis; this psychological background is very much evident in her writing. Young-Bruehl’s obvious knowledge of psychoanalysis, often times made reading Anna Freud: a Biography difficult. For example, the book covered many of Anna Freud’s theories and this being a biography and not a psychology textbook it was difficult to comprehend without previous knowledge of her theories. An entire chapter of the book dealt with the conflicting views Anna Freud and Melanie Klein had regarding the Oedipus complex. But I never caught on to what the different views were, so the importance of that chapter was somewhat lost. The book is also written with great attention to detail that it just becomes overwhelming, are difficult to follow. One other problem I had with the book was that there were so many names mentioned that it was difficult to remember who did what and what their significance was. The beginning of the book, Young-Bruehl provides some background information on the Freud family, before Anna is born, particularly Sigmund. In fact, the first fifth of the book deals more with Sigmund Freud than it does with Anna. However, it is important to discuss her father, because was the founder of psychoanalysis and had a huge impact on her life. Most of her life seemed to be based around him. Every since Anna was little, she craved her father’s love and attention. This is why she began to take an interest in psychoanalysis in the first place because it allowed the two of them to spend lots of time together, which pleased Anna. She was the youngest of the six Freud children and had felt excluded from her siblings and ignored by her father, during her youth. I found it rather disturbing the way she lived her life so much for her father instead of for her self. And being exposed to this knowledge early on tainted my op…
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