Freud’s Wizard: The Enigma of Ernest Jones by Brenda Maddox - review by Andrew Lycett

Andrew Lycett

On the Couch

Freud’s Wizard: The Enigma of Ernest Jones


John Murray 330pp £20 order from our bookshop

Ernest Jones was not called ‘Freud’s Rottweiler’ for nothing. In September 1933, when Nazi discrimination laws were taking their toll and Jewish shrinks were queuing to leave Germany, Jones, president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, dared to ask his mentor Sigmund Freud why members of his profession were so neurotic. They seemed to spend so much time squabbling among themselves.

Typically, it was a rhetorical question, which he answered himself. One reason was that they were neurotic by definition; otherwise they would not have chosen that field. In addition, they were overworked and, thirdly, they had not been sufficiently analysed.

Although Brenda Maddox admits that she spent an intense period on a psychoanalyst’s couch, thus gaining insight into her relationship with her young stepchildren, she does not seem to have been damaged by the experience. Indeed she has produced a remarkably sane book about Jones, the randy little Welshman who,

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