Freud: master and friend

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Reviews the book, Freud: master and friend by Hanns Sachs (1944). In 1920, sensing danger in the growing popularity of psychoanalysis, Freud called together his six most trusted friends and disciples of the earlier years and formed them into “a coordinated, but strictly anonymous, group.” Through private meetings and circulating letters, this group, called “The Seven Rings,” was to direct the future of psychoanalysis and protect it from partisanship and personal ambition. Only two of the seven, Dr. Ernest Jones and Dr. Sachs, are alive today, and it is appropriate that one of them should record the personal impression made by Freud upon his intimate inner circle. This book is frankly a personal record, making no pretense at full biography. Dr. Sachs has fully carried out his announced plan of conveying a faithful record and a personal impression. It is all the more surprising, therefore, that the book is in no sense an intimate biography. One feels a tremendous distance between Freud and even one of his favorite disciples. It seems plain that Freud simply did not make an intimate impression even on those who were nearest to him. Perhaps there is something in the relation of master and disciple that necessarily defeats intimacy; perhaps Freud's pride forever stood in its way. Dr. Sachs has told us what he knows, but he still leaves us puzzled. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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