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Paul Roazen: The historian of the psychoanalytic movement (Obit.)

Historians in the News




"All I can say is that Roazen is a menace whatever he writes," wrote an exasperated Anna Freud, referring to Paul Roazen, the historian of the psychoanalytic movement who died November 3.

In fact, Roazen was an exemplary scholar who opened up new avenues of inquiry regarding the founding and development of psychoanalysis. He posed questions that had never been asked before and, by dint of scholarly fact-checking, he corrected errors in the historical record, and in his own early works.

Based in Cambridge, Roazen could periodically be found at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, examining newly opened records in the Library's Freud collection, portions of which remain sealed for years to come. And his traces are all over the occasionally fierce historical debates over psychoanalysis in the last three decades.

"Real work entails, in my view, a willingness to engage in controversy," he once wrote. "Although acrimony in itself should seem undesirable, it is often necessary to combat what one genuinely regards as mischievous." (On the Freud Watch, 2003, p. 123).
Read entire article at Secrecy News, the newsletter written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists

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