Life Against Death-The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History -Norman O, Brown

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LIFE AGAINST DEATH examines that aspect of psychoanalysis to which Freud himself turned his thoughts in his later years, that is, the relationship of psychoanalysis to history and to man’s cultural situation in general. The result is, as Lionel Trilling wrote, ‘One of the most interesting and valuable works of our time. Dr. Brown’s contribution to
moral thought-and most especially where he touches on sexual behaviour-cannot be overestimated. His book is far-ranging, thoroughgoing,extreme, and shocking. It gives us the best interpretation of Freud I know.’ Dr. Brown’s thesis is that mankind must be viewed as largely unaware
of its own desires, hostile to life and unconsciously bent on self-destruction. The Times Literary Supplement writes: ‘Dr. Brown develops his thesis with a courage and consistency so devastating as to shake intellectual complacency to its foundations.Broadly, he holds that repression-viewed by Freud as the sine qua non of social organization-has
produced not merely individual neurosis but what can only be called social pathology … In his remorseless pursuit of psychological reality,Dr. Brown has achieved an understanding of
psychoanalysis truly remarkable … Behind himstands not only Freud but Nietzsche.’

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