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In the Freud Archives
In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
32 posts | 10 read | 21 to read
Malcolm's celebrated account of the falling-out of two unlikely friends is a fascinating portrait of a bizarre, cloistered world and the obsessed men who inhabit it.
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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January favorite! #12Booksof2022 academic infighting in the extreme in this well written nonfiction about the Freud Archive.This was a #NYRBBookclub
read and it has stuck with me.Ego,ambition, & lack of self-awareness rule the day.The discussion on this one was so great !

Andrew65 Sounds very interesting. 11mo
vivastory Such a wonderful book. I nearly picked it for 12booksof2022 11mo
batsy I was looking through my books read this year and this was definitely a January favourite, as well! So good. 11mo
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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#BestMidYear22 Day 3: The publisher site states, “A story of infatuation and disappointment, betrayal and revenge, In the Freud Archives is essentially a comedy. But the powerful presence of Freud himself and the harsh bracing air of his ideas about unconscious life hover over the narrative and give it a tragic dimension.“ Malcolm watches with a clinical eye as her subjects, Freud scholars, dig their own graves in this gossipy account of👇

vivastory jealousies & backstabbing. This one completely caught me off guard & the #NYRBBookClub discussion was a blast. 1y
Leftcoastzen 👏My mind wanders back to it & I still smile.😁 1y
vivastory @Leftcoastzen I noticed that the most recent entry in The Last Interview series is Janet Malcolm. Would be interesting. 1y
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Leftcoastzen Yes ! Saw that as well! 1y
merelybookish It is a unique and memorable read! 1y
BarbaraBB Such a good read! 1y
batsy This is one of my faves, too! I love the way her mind works. 1y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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merelybookish Quote is from the following article on the book. https://majusculelit.com/freud-facts-and-folly/ 2y
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Billypar Thanks for sharing that article! It is skillful how Malcolm arranges each of the narratives. I think the reason all of it is so entertaining stems from this quote of Malcolm's that the article references even though it's about another book: 2y
Billypar "People tell journalists their stories as characters in dreams deliver their elliptical messages: without warning, without context, without concern for how odd they will sound when the dreamer awakens and repeats them.” 2y
vivastory It must takes a lot of skill to get someone to open up the way that Malcolm did in this book. I agree with this quote, as others have mentioned in their reviews one striking aspect is how Malcolm does not insert herself as a subject into the narrative. 2y
youneverarrived That‘s exactly how it felt reading it. And probably part of the reason why it felt like I was reading fiction a lot of the time. She didn‘t focus on fact after fact or bring a massively personal agenda to it. 2y
quietjenn That felt true of my experience with the book. It didn't seem like she had an agenda. Which I found especially interesting with the afterword, because that legal battle with Masson must have already started while the book was being prepped for publication. 2y
vivastory @quietjenn That afterword def adds a whole new dimension to the book I think 2y
merelybookish @Billypar That's a great quote! Each person sees their story as part of a larger story that makes sense to them. But removed from that framework, it can just look...delusional. 2y
merelybookish @vivastory Makes me think she would have been a good psychoanalyst. 😄 2y
merelybookish @youneverarrived Yes, she was quite dispassionate. She gave them enough rope to hang themselves, as the saying goes. 2y
merelybookish @quietjenn @vivastory I foundthe afterword is fascinating. It was so begrudging in tone. Like she really didn't want to include it. I knew going in Malcolm had been sued but I didn't realize it was for this book. 2y
youneverarrived @merelybookish yeah she didn‘t really need to add anything to be fair, they said it all themselves 😂 (edited) 2y
Billypar @youneverarrived I felt exactly the same about the reading experience - it really did feel like fiction, especially with 'characters' like Masson and Swales. 2y
sarahbarnes Yes, agree this quote pretty much sums it up. And she does it in such a skillful way, using their own words to lay out the story and never really weighing in heavily one way or another. It was pretty brilliant. 2y
GatheringBooks @vivastory @quietjenn that Afterword for me was the real game changer - it now brings the author directly into her own narrative; yet not once did I feel that she was less than objective or fair in her assessment of the events as they unfolded. 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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vivastory For a book that is ostensibly about Freud, I found myself thinking about Freud very little while reading it. Instead I thought of: conmen, social media drama, schadenfreude, & Errol Morris. 2y
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quietjenn Maybe a tiny bit, but mostly Freud is the McGuffin. 2y
vivastory @quietjenn Ah, excellent! 👏 2y
merelybookish @vivastory I did think it was interesting how Eissler mimicked Freud in some ways as he also would pick acolytes who would eventually "betray" him. But I was interested in reading just how much Freud matters to the story. Obvious he mattered very much to them but did he matter to Malcolm or the reader? Perhaps not as @quietjenn has astutely said. ? 2y
sarahbarnes I will say that the last time I though this much about Freud was in college, and I was slightly appalled by some of the things I learned about him in the book. 2y
merelybookish @sarahbarnes Me too! The story where he blames the patient for bleeding instead of blaming the doctor for leaving gauze in her nose. 😳 2y
batsy @quietjenn Nicely put! 2y
batsy @merelybookish @sarahbarnes I was slightly appalled by that, too. And I felt Malcolm's disgust about it come through even though she didn't go into it at length. 2y
GatheringBooks I was actually thinking about Freud thruout and how he was the greatest conman of all. Like, omg, his methods, his substance abuse, his questionable theories, his explanation of “hysteria” or wandering uterus indicating his deplorable view of women - and a patriarchal society that continues to enable it and perpetuate it - I don‘t care about his unconscious, id/ego/superego - he was a dangerous dangerous man allowed to run amok because he can. 2y
GatheringBooks And yes yes yes @merelybookish @sarahbarnes about that gauze incident - Freud was the classic Gaslighter! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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LeahBergen Love these graphics! 🤣 2y
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merelybookish @LeahBergen Thanks! I tried to find one with the Kardashians but couldn't resist the 🍿. 😆 2y
Billypar I went to grad school for psychology and I remember being a little appalled at how these seemingly distinguished professors were like the Mean Girls characters with each other. I thought it was something about my school and then later I realized - oh wait, this is just humans everywhere 😀 2y
Billypar I guess it's more incongruous with academics who you might expect to be smart enough to rise above pettiness. 2y
TrishB I haven‘t read the book, but the question made me laugh. Says someone who works in a university. 2y
merelybookish @Billypar Yes and it seems particularly inane with people who are supposed to understand human nature. 2y
merelybookish @TrishB I also used to work at a university. 🙂 It does seem like academia often attracts people with terrible social skills. 2y
Billypar Right? That's the wildest part - how far apart knowing about something and applying it to your own life can really be. 2y
TrishB Lol 😁 very diplomatically put. 2y
vivastory These pics 😂 2y
vivastory @Billypar I agree. I think it's bc it speaks a truth about a fundamental truth of people that we would like to ignore. (edited) 2y
youneverarrived This made me laugh 😂 as humans we do just seem to be interested in other peoples dramas. 2y
sarahbarnes OMG these pictures @merelybookish 😂. I think in some ways the level of academic intelligence and perhaps lack of social skills/common sense of these folks makes their arguments entertaining because they get SO incensed about things that in the real world seem like not the most important thing. 2y
merelybookish @sarahbarnes So true! Most people don't give a flying fig about Freud's legacy. But for these people it was life or death. 2y
batsy These pics 😂 I kind of wanted to further my studies in literary studies and never did, so personally I think I enjoy academic drama because it's a combination of interest and envy?! Lol. But also the stakes are so high within the academic milieu where arguments are taken seriously and for those of us outside of it, those arguments often have no immediate bearing on our lives so it's really quite fascinating 😆 2y
merelybookish @batsy Maybe books like this can quell the envy. Not all academics are this bad...but I've met a few nuts in my day. 2y
GatheringBooks @Billypar sigh. Sadly, the most petty and ridiculous people I know are academics. 🤣😂🤣😂 and like @batsy pointed out - this “infighting” can also most likely lead to revolutionizing a field - which means a shift in power - which means a shift in WHO controls knowledge. 2y
GatheringBooks I have been working in academic institutions by the way since 1997 (i started teaching in the university when I was 21) 🤣🤣🤣 2y
Billypar @batsy @GatheringBooks This book and our discussion really make me think how we prefer our judgments of others to be consistent - someone should be a genius or an idiot, but not both at different times. It's why we have so much ambivalence when someone whose art we love is found to have done something terrible in their private life. Academic fights are a showcase for what we love and hate about how complicated people can be. 2y
GatheringBooks @Billypar this reminds of an anecdote about not meeting your idols or your favorite authors - because they will never live up to your expectations 😭 2y
quietjenn @Billypar Love this last sentence! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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youneverarrived Interesting question! I don‘t really know about this so look forward to seeing what everyone else says. One thing that did strike me though is that Masson‘s ideas about the seduction theory are probably more along the lines of how psychologists think today? In one of my current reads it mentioned that a lot of Freud‘s theories have been debunked - although his idea that the unconscious plays a big role in our behaviour still stands. 2y
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vivastory Freud & Freudian theory justifiably doesn't have the same authority that it once held, but the impact of certain theories remains. It was interesting because i read a review of the book where the author said they came across it while researching the Satanic Panic of the 80s & Masson's ideas re: Freud's seduction theory were used by a lot of pop psychologists at the time to prop up the idea of widespread satanic cults. 2y
vivastory @youneverarrived I def think that his ideas of the unconscious is his most noteworthy contribution today 2y
merelybookish @youneverarrived @vivastory I guess I wondered about this as I read as there seemed to be such reverence for Freud and fear that any criticism of him would topple psychoanalysis. I think therapy has expanded a lot since then and psychoanalysis is not the norm anymore. And yeah, his seduction theory seems a lot more believable than sexual fantasy staring in infancy. But some of his key concepts are still used like transference/countertransference. 2y
vivastory @merelybookish @youneverarrived It seems like now there is more of a middle ground with the theories which I noticed was missing with the discussion of the theories in the books. The proponents in the book-for or against-seemed to be all or nothing with some of his theories, which struck me as ridiculous. (edited) 2y
vivastory Also if Swales bio on Fliess had proceeded & picked up more steam, I do think it could have possibly toppled Freud's legacy at the time. There were some wild accusations in it... (edited) 2y
youneverarrived @vivastory that is true with regards to it being all or nothing. @merelybookish definitely, I think because he was the ‘founder‘ and so revered some people probably did think any criticism against him would cause harm for psychoanalysis. 2y
Billypar @youneverarrived Yeah, that's definitely true - history has proven Masson correct about Freud theories and actual trauma vs. imagined trauma. The thing is, by the time Masson entered the picture, I think this was a pretty common critique in other wings of psychology outside psychoanalysis. I'm not sure he contributed much to that dialogue beyond what he found in Freud's letters. 2y
Billypar That's interesting @vivastory about the connection to The Satanic Panic. Does it amount to, 'just like no one wanted to face that sexual abuse was so widespread, our children are being similarly corrupted by Satan.' Probably not the same notoriety Masson was hoping for! 2y
vivastory @Billypar From what I understand his theories at the time were being used to justify recovered memory therapy which of course was later debunked. 2y
merelybookish @vivastory That's pretty wild. Did you Google him? Now he writes books about animals. 2y
vivastory I just looked at his bibliography on Wikipedia. He's published so many books about animals 🤯 2y
merelybookish @vivastory He reinvented himself again. 2y
batsy I wondered the same and I'm really not sure! I'm not well-versed with modern psychoanalysis theories. There is a sense that Freudian concepts are seen a bit as quackery, but all of the interesting cultural theorists tend to refer back to him, probably because they analyse literature, etc. that are all about symbolism and fantasy. 2y
merelybookish @batsy In my experience, most people use the term 'pyschodynamic' now to show some allegiance with psychoanalytic theory but also all the ways it has evolved since Freud. Probably some pure form still exists. Reading this book, I wondered if Freud and psychoanalysis was held in higher regard (and had more popular currency) in the 80s or if they were as fringey then as they are now. Would these disputes still be reported in the NY Times? 2y
youneverarrived @Billypar I did wonder when I was reading it if Masson was a minority in believing Freud‘s initial theory regarding trauma, as it‘s so prevalent today. 2y
GatheringBooks As a clinician, I can safely claim that while psychoanalytic theory is still discussed in undergrad course modules and a few graduate level courses - it is more historical rather than something that is perceived as empirically sound/valid. Clinical practice has moved on to its acceptable offshoots like gestalt therapy, emotion-focused therapy - but the hardliner empiricists/social scientists are more aligned with cognitive/behavioural approaches. 2y
BarbaraBB @GatheringBooks That is so interesting , I had been wondering. I also googled Masson and was completely surprised that he now writes books about animals! What a character! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Billypar Freud would probably say there was some projection going on here: Eissler was seeing a younger version of himself in Masson, someone who would be perfectly suited to preserving Freud's legacy. 2y
Billypar And even though at some point a lot of people were upset at Eissler for entrusting Masson with the archive, the early part of the book makes it clear that Eissler wasn't the only one to give Masson what he wanted: some of the descriptions made him sound kind of sociopathic in how conscious he was of gaining the trust of others and often exploiting it. 2y
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merelybookish @Billypar Yes but also an alternate version of himself. Eissler and Mason seem quite opposite in personality and conduct. He just seems irresistibly drawn to him, in spite of (because of?) everyone else finding him so loathsome. 2y
merelybookish @Billypar True. Everyone does seem to agree that he's brilliant. And reading your comment it made me wonder about class and other unspoken rules that Masson may have been breaking that would be offensive. But at the same time, it's hard to deny how opportunistic he was..even he doesn't deny it. 😅 2y
Billypar That is very true: they have totally opposite personalities! They did seem to forge a quick bond, and I think you're right: the act of defending him to others maybe made him further devoted. 2y
Billypar Masson was also kind of a Freud fan-boy himself at the start, so that was probably another point of attraction. Eissler never seemed enamored with Swales, possibly because he started with a more journalistic eye. 2y
youneverarrived I think it‘s mentioned in the book, but I can‘t remember by who (maybe Gardiner?), that Eissler saw in Masson the outgoing type of person he wished he could be. That would make sense as to why he was so blinded by his flaws, despite what other people were telling him. I think he just had this idealised perception of him. (edited) 2y
quietjenn To misquote Fox Mulder, he wanted to believe. And there must've been something really dynamic and charismatic about Masson in the flesh. To think you are handling the legacy of Freud, into whom you've invested your entire life, in someone like that who would preserve it for years to come, must've been appealing. 2y
vivastory Both Swales & Masson seem somewhat apparent in their motivations, but when I start think about Eissler's I actually begin feeling a bit like a psychoanalyst bc his do feel more complex. 2y
Billypar @quietjenn Very apt X-files reference. Having staked out such an extreme position over his career where Freud represents the pinnacle of human achievement, it must have been nearly impossible to reverse himself. And yeah, at first glance Masson probably seemed nothing if not capable of carrying that torch forward. 2y
sarahbarnes Masson seems to be one of those personalities that people find magnetic at first, and then he does something to offend them or put them off. It seemed to take Eissler a lot longer to get to that point with him. Maybe he saw him as kind of a problematic child? 2y
batsy @quietjenn Love the X-Files reference 😂 2y
batsy It feels like one of those hard to evaluate things involving force of personality or probably charisma; something that Masson seemed to have and Eissler not. So Masson might have seemed like a path to greater popularity for Eissler, at the start. If that makes sense. But also the bit where Eissler suddenly blurts out, "The homosexual explanation" then denies having "homosexual fantasies" about him gave me pause. (it's a Freudian book, after all!) 2y
merelybookish @batsy Haha indeed! We could also frame this adoration of Freud as some misguided search for a father figure. Eissler was fascinating because he did have moments of insight. But also acted like a fool. I guess I did feel badly for him more than the others. 2y
GatheringBooks Love @Billypar ‘s analysis here! Some kind of transference or counter-transference perhaps. But this is also quite common among master-apprentice relationships, when the “student” seems to not know his/her place and “over-reach” so to speak. But Masson with his litigious character is of a different level altogether - a class all his own. 🤣😭😂 2y
BarbaraBB I am with @youneverarrived : I always felt like Eissler was a lonely man who wished to be more like Masson and who felt flattered to be seen by someone like Masson. I pitied Eissler a bit. 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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LeahBergen I didn‘t get around to reading this pick and I‘m regretting it a bit now that I‘ve seen so many glowing reviews! I‘ll enjoy reading all the comments and discussion here, though. 😀 2y
arubabookwoman I am so sorry-my brain for some reason thought that the discussion was next week , and I haven't read it yet. Will be back to read the didcussion after I've read it this week. I'm really looking forward to reading it. 2y
Billypar To me it seemed that Masson and Swales had similar motivations to gain notoriety by having a first crack at aspects of Freud that no one has previously touched (even if they differ in more precise ways). By contrast, Eissler was motivated to protect Freud's reputation given his admiration for him, and that was a role he was very familiar with. 2y
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merelybookish @LeahBergen You can always come back and add to the discussion if you get around to reading it. 😀 2y
merelybookish @arubabookwoman I understand! I hope you enjoy and do come back and comment! 2y
merelybookish @Billypar Yes, both Masson and Swales did seem to want gain notoriety and dazzle with this brilliance. I guess I wonder what drew them both to Freud. Or maybe because Freud's reputation was so sacrosanct at this time courtesy of men like Eissler. 2y
Billypar One interesting thing is how both Masson and Swales seem to like being the smartest person in the room, and they move between wildly different fields of study to chase after this position of authority. Maybe after initially coming to Freud based on his reputation the circumstances of being able to gain access to this privileged material was what got them hooked. 2y
vivastory @LeahBergen It's a quick read! If you do end up reading it, please feel free to tag us to discuss. I think you'll enjoy it. 2y
vivastory @arubabookwoman Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts once you have finished. I hope you enjoy! 2y
vivastory @Billypar Agreed. I think that both Masson & Swales were both motivated by the idea of a bit of fame by taking down someone famous & Eissler was blindly protecting Freud's legacy even when people were warning him about both Masson & Swales. 2y
vivastory @Billypar @merelybookish I think that for Masson a big part of the appeal of the Freud Archives was purely the reputation that accompanied it & not so much being interested in the material itself. I found it telling later in the book when Malcolm in a rare moment of interjection reminded him that nothing is objectively interesting, that humans are the ones who make subjects worthy of study 2y
quietjenn @Billypar I agree with this. Eissler's motivation was "pure," in the sense that he was devoted to Freud and the conventional understanding of him and had a sort of "protect at all costs" attitude and was very proprietary. I feel like the Masson was more keen on noteriety for himself, as well as the idea of wanting to be part of some exclusive inner circle. Swales, er, drugs? ? Not totally sure. 2y
vivastory @quietjenn If I had one complaint about the book, it is that I would have liked to have heard more from Swales bc he was a character!! 2y
Billypar @vivastory That back and forth about "objective interest" really does get to the heart of the book. Information is like currency for Masson and once he's spent it all, he gets bored. But he interprets it as - 'I'm no longer interested because I know all about that subject already. None of these mediocre minds can surprise me.' 2y
Billypar @quietjenn @vivastory Ah Swales. Yes - I'm less sure about this guy- he suddenly materializes and quickly fades. My largest laugh out loud moment from the book was his letter to Fliess's daughter Mrs. Jacobsohn. And he's reading it to Malcolm, like it's a perfectly natural thing to write! 2y
vivastory @Billypar Exactly! At the end when he tells Malcolm, “OMG, psychoanalysis is so boring...I've already moved on to more exciting fields...I'm through with it...“ & then the next time she talks to him a publisher was showing interest in one of his books about psychoanalysis & he was like, “I will finally reveal the truth all about psychoanalysis. They will now know the whole truth!“ Dude.... 😂 2y
youneverarrived I think they all wanted to make history of some sort, to be remembered and to be important. Eisslers main motivation was the protection of Freuds legacy and his image of him. 2y
merelybookish @vivastory @Billypar OMG the letters! These men AND THEIR EGOS!! 2y
sarahbarnes @merelybookish @vivastory I‘m sorry I missed the discussion today! I loved this book and never would‘ve picked it up if not for this book club, so thank you. And, I agree with the comments here that ego and fame and wanting to be the smartest person in the room we‘re major motivators for these guys. 2y
merelybookish @sarahbarnes Glad to have you join in whenever. 🙂 Who would have thought Freudians could be so entertaining? (I guess Malcolm did.) 2y
DrexEdit This probably comes up in a later question but I did like the writing style that just sort of coolly noted "he wrote a 45-page single-spaced letter and sent it to the recipient and 20 copies to all his regular correspondents" like this is a perfectly normal thing to do. 2y
batsy I agree that Eissler seemed "pure" in his obsession: he was genuinely invested in Freud. All of the examples Malcolm's used felt like someone who could be best described as a Freud stan, as the kids say ? Masson was really intriguing in the sense he seemed almost a bit callous—he needed the high of being the first at the scene more than anything. And Swales was a bit more complex; maybe being an outsider just made him want to one up the scholars? 2y
merelybookish @batsy a Freud stan. 🤣 I wonder what they would call themselves...the little egos, Id army, analyslams. 😃 2y
batsy @merelybookish The little egos 😂 2y
GatheringBooks @batsy love your summary here. As an academic, I think there is this desire to fill in what is known as a “gap” in the literature - to “revolutionize” the field enough to cause a paradigm shift. Freud‘s salacious past and objectionable methods definitely are fodder for academic gossip and have the potential to change the direction of the field entirely. For the record, I am definitely not a Freud Stan @merelybookish 2y
GatheringBooks @batsy “huge over-inflated egos” may be a more apt description of most male academics 🤣🤣🤣 2y
merelybookish @GatheringBooks Absolutely! I used to teach at the university and no one can get my hackles up faster than white male academic. 😬🙄 2y
BarbaraBB Swales seemed genuinely interested in Freud, Eissler in his archives and Masson in himself. They were looking for a joined connection but they couldn‘t look beyond their own egos! 2y
merelybookish @BarbaraBB That's a great way to sum them up!! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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In All About Eve, an aspiring actress charms her way into the inner circle of star Margo Channing and exploits the connection to launch her career. Malcolm's chronicle of an odd moment in the field of psychology casts unknown Sanskrit scholar Jeffrey Masson in the Eve role as he courts famed psychoanalyst Kurt R. Eissler. Unlike Channing though, Eissler isn't suspicious in the least and takes Masson under his wing, with results that are...weird 👇

Billypar Malcolm's account profiles three intellectuals whose divergent perspectives on Freud lead to all kinds of public and private drama. Their arguments blur the lines between Freud the theorist and Freud the man in fascinating ways. Psychoanalysis' day may have passed, but I found the insights extremely relevant - it doesn't take long to find folks on Twitter whose attempts to defend their ideas reveal more about their character than they intend. 2y
BarbaraBB You are so right!! 2y
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Cathythoughts Great picture 💫 2y
youneverarrived Love this film and love your review! 👌 2y
merelybookish Great review! I appreciate the distinction you draw between Freud's theories and Freud the man. 2y
vivastory Fantastic review! I agree with you about certain aspects of the book resonating strongly in the digital age. 2y
Billypar @BarbaraBB I think we'll have plenty to discuss today with this one 🙂 2y
Billypar @Cathythoughts @youneverarrived It's not the film parallel I was expecting with this one, but it somehow seems to fit. AAE is a memorable classic! 2y
Billypar @merelybookish @vivastory Thanks! Looking forward to our own analysis of these case studies of sorts, and how Malcolm brings them to life. 2y
Leftcoastzen Nice! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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OK, so based on the reviews for this #NYRBBookClub book I've seen so far, this is going to be an #UnpopularOpinion. I did like reading this book. I thought the author was a very good writer and apparently a good interviewer in order to get these people to say some of the self-incriminating stuff they said. But I just wasn't feeling excited about the drama over the Freud archives. ⬇

DrexEdit Or the question about whether or not Freudian psychology took a wrong turn somewhere. I don't know. Maybe a bit more background in Freudian concepts would have helped. I found my basic Psych 101 level-knowledge to not be of much help. And googling Freud theories just made me think the whole theory is messed up! Is anyone here a Freudian adherent? Maybe you could explain it to me. 2y
BarbaraBB I ended up thinking like you, that Freud‘s theories are messed up or at least outdated and way too much sex biased. But I have no idea if I‘m right either. Looking forward to the discussion! 2y
merelybookish I think it's good to have different opinions! And yeah, I think many of Freud's theories have fallen by the wayside (especially his theories about development) but the idea of the unconscious is pretty pervasive in our culture still and that goes back to Freud. 2y
vivastory I think that Freud's theories (most of them) have been rightfully discarded. I do find it interesting in the sense that if Masson had proceeded as head of the Freud Archives it could have completely changed how we think of Freud today. A couple reviews that I read said they became aware of it while researching the 80s Satanic Panic & how Massons theories were used by proponents of widespread satanism at the time. 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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#NYRBBookClub I knew I had that Wolf Man book somewhere! We like to think of academics toiling to find hidden letters to illuminate tidbits about Ms. Austen. Us, ooo & ahhh. When fame, fortune,& ego are intertwined w/ the precious Freud archives, everything blows up in incredible fashion. That people that study psychology & psychiatric history should be so incredibly not self-aware..🙄Malcolm must have been delighted, u can‘t make this stuff up!

vivastory It really is astonishing how oblivious they were! Malcolm must have had a great skill to allow them to open up like that. 2y
merelybookish How cool you have that book! 2y
Leftcoastzen @merelybookish thanks! I was thrilled to find it , even better, it was 2 bucks ! 2y
GatheringBooks Now that is a find!!!! I must look for it!!! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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This has to be one of my favourite #nyrbbookclub reads. I found it compelling & fascinating; for a book about psychoanalysts they all seemed to get each other wrong, or were blinded by their own perception/needs (human nature I guess). I loved the way it felt like the author took herself out of the narrative as much as possible and just let the main people involved speak for themselves. Very well written, would love to read more by her. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

vivastory Wonderful review! Yes, I thought it was great that she let her subjects speak for themselves without forcing her viewpoint. The afterword adds a whole new dimension to the story. This was one of my favorite recent surprises for the group. Looking forward to tomorrow's discussion! 2y
merelybookish Well said! And agree that part of the appeal is in how she writes and just lets these nutty men speak for themselves. Glad you enjoyed it! (I was nervous about this one...) 2y
Leftcoastzen @merelybookish nutty men ! indeed!❤️😂 2y
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Suet624 Well I‘ve seen enough. I had to go and purchase this one. It sounds fabulous. 2y
youneverarrived @vivastory thank you! Definitely, it made me laugh how Masson tried to sue her for things she had proof of him saying though, he must have a massive ego 😬 it should be a good one! 2y
youneverarrived @merelybookish 😂 it felt detached but in the best way. We all seem to have enjoyed it so far 🤍 2y
youneverarrived @Suet624 I hope you enjoy it too 🤍 2y
batsy Great review! The knack of not inserting herself is an art, almost, but she has a way of summing up a character or an argument that imparts the force of her thinking. It's so different from the "I" centric memoir/nonfiction writing. She has a way with language, for sure :) 2y
youneverarrived @batsy that‘s exactly it. She has a way of saying what she‘s thinking in a quick sentence or paragraph but it‘s never forced and never feels like she‘s writing with any sort of agenda. 2y
Megabooks I stacked this after Scott‘s review, and now I especially want to read it! 2y
youneverarrived @Megabooks I found it to be one of those ‘have to keep reading‘ books. I hope you enjoy it if you get to it 🤍 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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The exacting nature of Malcolm's writing is something to behold: every sentence is a smooth gem whittled down to its core. A GR review calls her prose "cool & brutal" & I agree; there's something so fiercely intelligent in how she sees things. While Freud & bickering Freudians are endlessly fascinating, the structure of the book fittingly shows that even psychoanalysts—expert or armchair—can lack self-awareness. The unconscious remains murky.

batsy What's really interesting to me, seeing Malcolm cast a gimlet eye on Freudians & psychoanalysts, is learning from Malcolm's NYT obit that her father was a psychiatrist. What would Freud say? 🙃 #nyrbbookclub @merelybookish @vivastory 2y
Suet624 Never mind the book. Your review itself is fascinating! 2y
Simona Stacked… just because of your review. 2y
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vivastory Great review! I had no idea about her father being a psychiatrist. The afterword to the book def adds a whole new dimension to it. 2y
merelybookish Great review! Definitely want to read more Malcolm. Apparently she may have wanted to be a psychiatrist like her Dad. In one interview she said she didn't pursue it because she couldn't do math. In another she denied it altogether. 2y
vivastory @merelybookish @batsy I just looked at her bio on The New Yorker & I will def be checking out her other books. “The Journalist & the Murderer“ seems to be one of her best. This description caught my interest: about a lawsuit brought by a convicted murderer against the author of a book on his crime, examines the relationship between writer and subject... 2y
Leftcoastzen Great review! 2y
batsy @vivastory @merelybookish It is pretty interesting to consider, isn't it. And it gets better that she said that in one interview and denied it in another! I've got Journalist and the Murderer on my list, along with her books on Plath and Stein. 2y
vivastory Both of those sound great. This one sounds really interesting, I think it was her final book 2y
UwannaPublishme Another great review! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2y
batsy @vivastory That is on my list as well! Basically everything lol 2y
batsy @UwannaPublishme Thank you! 2y
Leftcoastzen Great review! This book delighted me ! So much ego , so little self awareness! 2y
batsy @Leftcoastzen Thank you! Delighted is the word; I got so much pleasure from the way they all seemed like perfect Freudian case studies 😅 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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#NYRBBookClub Am I reading a book about Freud or reliving a fight scene from Dynasty? 😂
@vivastory @merelybookish

merelybookish 😂 The original real housewives!! 2y
Reggie Awwww Krystle and Alexis! 2y
batsy 😂 2y
plemmdog Linda Evans just made a cameo in an indie film this year (Swan Song). It was good to see her again 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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I'm enjoying both the subject of discussion (Freud + academic gossip? Who says no?) and the way Janet Malcom thinks and writes 🧠

#nyrbbookclub @merelybookish @vivastory

merelybookish I don't think she's a fan of psychoanalysis. 😛 2y
batsy @merelybookish Not quite getting that impression (yet), but more of a kind of clear-eyed brutal honesty that makes for fun reading 😆 2y
merelybookish @batsy Yes definitely clear eyed and entertaining. The idea of "making the invisible visible" is still accepted and touted to this day so I saw her questioning of it is a bit of a takedown. 2y
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vivastory I was also really struck by her analogy of water in the sieve 2y
batsy @merelybookish I get what you mean, yeah. I think I didn't see it as a takedown because I'm inclined to agree with her... Maybe... I think 😅 Though always been super fascinated with psychoanalysis. I feel like I want to read her Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession at some point! 2y
Leftcoastzen Word ! 2y
merelybookish @batsy Well maybe it struck me because I felt a bit indicted by it. 😄 I certainly don't identify with or aspire to be a psychoanalyst but I do like some depth stuff which is based on that idea of making the unconscious conscious. So that passage stung a bit even as I get what she's saying. 2y
batsy @merelybookish Oh yes! I'm drawn to the idea of being able to reveal the unconscious, too. At the same time it also feels out of reach or futile. She has definitely stirred up some anxiety in me with this short passage 😆 2y
charl08 Such a fan of hers. Just finished one book of essays: is it too soon to buy another? 2y
batsy @charl08 Not at all! Perfect timing 😆 (Which book was it, btw?) 2y
Sophronisba I love Janet Malcolm's work. Her book on Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas is excellent if you haven't read it. 2y
batsy @Sophronisba I have not! Thanks for the rec; I'm very interested in seeking out more of her work. On top of it being a really gripping read, her sentences are practically flawless. 2y
readordierachel I'm enjoying it too. It feels both analytical (can I use that word? 🙃) and dishy, which is an interesting combo. 2y
batsy @readordierachel Analytical and dishy is such a good description for how it reads! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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I‘m a little late to the #NYRBBookclub selection this month.All the reviews & tidbits I‘ve seen posted about it make me think I will fly through it ! Drama in the world of academe? Yes,please!

vivastory Great pic! I have several of the same editions of Jung in storage. Looking forward to your thoughts. (edited) 2y
LeahBergen @vivastory Was that a Freudian slip? 🤣🤣 2y
vivastory @LeahBergen F**ng autocorrect 😂 😅 2y
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Leftcoastzen @vivastory I knew what you meant, but laughed a little anyway!😁 2y
LeahBergen @vivastory @Leftcoastzen I dunno… I kinda liked the first version. 😆 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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I‘m doing the disciplined thing and finishing my assigned reading in the book on the right (A Handbook to Old Testament Exegesis) before moving on to the #NYRBBookClub selection for this month. 😍 The OT book is surprisingly good! It‘s all about unpeeling the layers of literary nuance and the history of interpretation of the biblical text. Still…I‘m really looking forward to moving on to Malcolm‘s offering!

Singout Cool! Many years a group I joined a small Torah study group, led by a queer feminist, that was open to anyone. I learned so much about the Hebrew scriptures, as well as Judaism, that I hadn‘t learned as a Christian. 2y
saresmoore @Singout That sounds amazing! I am learning so much. We start Womanist Midrash next week! 2y
lostinwords The Epic of Eden by Sandra Richter which I‘m reading now is about the OT too. It‘s an interesting overview of the people, the facts, and the story. After reading a synopsis of this one, I think I‘ll put this one on my TBT list. Thank you for sharing. (edited) 2y
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saresmoore @lostinwords That sounds like an excellent book! I certainly did not come into my study of the Hebrew scriptures with that kind of organized overview (or appreciation), but I‘m growing to love it for the complex & dynamic literary composition that it is. 2y
BarbaraBB You‘ll love the Freud I think! Good to see you! 2y
braddsibbersen Am I weird in that I'd read the biblical scholar book first? 2y
saresmoore @BarbaraBB 🤗 I am loving it! 2y
saresmoore @bradsibbersen Probably. But we‘re all mad here! 😄 I love the scholarly work, too. 2y
LeahBergen Happy Birthday! I hope you‘re doing well! 😘😘 2y
Branwen Miss you! 💕 2y
TrishB Hope all is good with you and the family ❤️ 1y
Suet624 Still miss seeing you here. 6mo
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Thoroughly enjoying this #nyrbbookclub selection. Gossipy academic shenanigans and big personalities in a field I have no vested interest in makes for a compelling and entertaining read.

Liz_M That is my favorite mug! 2y
sarahbarnes I‘m enjoying it, too 2y
batsy I just started but Malcolm really has a way of immediately drawing you in! 2y
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vivastory I loved it! Really looking forward to the discussion this weekend. 2y
quietjenn @Liz_M one of my favorites, too 😃 2y
quietjenn @sarahbarnes @batsy @vivastory it's great that everyone sends to be enjoying it. Should be a good discussion! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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“If Freud had continued his efforts in this direction, he would have become the inventor of a better condom, not the founder of psychoanalysis.” 😂

BarbaraBB I loved that quote too 😀 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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"You should have read him more carefully."
This quote, towards the end of the book, is by Janet Malcolm during her conversation with the opportunistic upstart Jeff Masson. Malcolm's assessment of the other person being a poor judge of character, despite being immersed in psychoanalysis, is applicable to several other characters in this juicy book that could easily be called Keeping Up With the Freudians. I loved this book & can't wait to discuss!

vivastory I think you would especially like this one @Megabooks A science book with a lot of drama. I was expecting it to be heavy on the psychoanalytic jargon & it's not. It's a lively quick read. 2y
Megabooks Thanks for the tag, Scott. I was curious when I saw @BarbaraBB ‘s positive review, so I‘m definitely going to stack this. I have a few nyrb titles on my list, so it‘s probably time to do an order during their next sale. 👍🏻 2y
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merelybookish Keeping up with the Freudians! 😂 Great review Scott. That's the thing isn't it? These people are supposed to be specialists in the human psyche and they are all so clueless! 2y
BarbaraBB Fab review and @merelybookish is right, they‘re clueless! 2y
vivastory @merelybookish Thanks! They really are clueless. I think this will be a great one to discuss. 2y
vivastory @BarbaraBB I'm looking forward to discussing it with the rest of the group. This has been on my TBR forever and was such a pleasant surprise. 2y
batsy I just started yesterday and was thinking The Real Housewives of Freud but Keeping Up With the Freudians wins 🤣 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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I'll see myself out 🤣

DrexEdit 😂😂 2y
daena 🤣🤣🤣 2y
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AmyG Ha! 2y
Ruthiella 😂😂😂 2y
LeahBergen 🤣🤣 2y
Ddzmini Uh oh 👀😳 2y
readordierachel 😂🤣 2y
sprainedbrain 😂😂😂 2y
Branwen OMG! 🤣😂🤣😂👏 2y
CarolynM 🤣 2y
Vansa Hilarious!Also Freud loved his jokes, he would have probably hugely enjoyed this one! 2y
Megabooks 😂😂😂😂 2y
batsy Lololol! 2y
Reggie Lololol 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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#BookReport 03/21

A week of reading according to plan. I enjoyed the tagged one, both others not really.

Cinfhen You didn‘t care for Diver‘s either?? 2y
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen Just tagged you in my review. Even less than you did. 2y
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen Or maybe you were polite because I draw you into this one 😂😂 2y
Cinfhen I was a bit more polite 😁I only PAN a book, when I REALLY HATE IT and then I usually bail. But I did give it only 2 stars 2y
BarbaraBB I gave it two stars too. So we probably think similar about it. 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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That last sentence 😬😂
#NYRBBookClub @merelybookish

BarbaraBB I can guess who‘s talking! 2y
merelybookish He hangs himself with his own rope so many times. 😂 2y
vivastory @BarbaraBB He's such a character! 2y
vivastory @merelybookish He really does. It's like watching an Errol Morris documentary. 2y
Billypar Errol Morris and, at times, Christopher Guest 😅 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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"... But almost everyone else in the analytic world would have done anything to get rid of me. They were envious of me, but I think they also genuinely felt that I was a mistake and a nuisance and a potential danger to psychoanalysis-a really critical danger. They sensed that I could single-handedly bring down the whole business..." #NYRBBookClub @merelybookish

merelybookish Hi's ego is pretty unbelievable. 2y
vivastory @merelybookish Initially he struck me as a total conman, but it was definitely his ego that made me think that 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Academic gossiping! I didn‘t know I‘d enjoy that but I did. Three academics fight about who knows best what Freud meant and thought. I learned a lot about Freud‘s early seduction theory, which he abandoned in favor of a theory of infantile sexuality. It‘s fascinating to read about the different interpretations and opinions of the three academics. And the author‘s role in all of this. What a great choice @merelybookish for the #NYRBBookClub

AshleyHoss820 This actually sounds really fun! 2y
merelybookish I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's surprisingly entertaining. And nice that it ticked off a few reading prompts for you too! 2y
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BarbaraBB @AshleyHoss820 It is! It‘s intellectual hysterical, it‘s about conflicting male ego‘s, it made me chuckle more than once! 2y
AshleyHoss820 @BarbaraBB Oh my gosh, totally gonna have to stack it, then! ☺️ 2y
BarbaraBB @merelybookish I really did and am so curious where our discussion will lead to. I don‘t know that much about Freud, only what I read about him in fiction books. So I am looking forward to see what you all will think! 2y
BarbaraBB @AshleyHoss820 I think you have to 😊 2y
merelybookish @BarbaraBB I was thinking about that and how our assumptions about Freud (and psychoanalysis) today might differ from when it was written in the 80s. 2y
BarbaraBB @merelybookish They might indeed. I‘d say his theories are controversial to say the least but again, I don‘t know much about psychotherapy. Interesting! 2y
Librarybelle Sounds interesting! 2y
readordierachel Oh yay! I'm looking forward to this 2y
batsy Nice review! And what @readordierachel said! 😁 2y
Cinfhen Great review!! You have me VERY intrigued 2y
vivastory Wonderful review! I'm starting this one soon and looking forward to it. I've heard really good things about it. 2y
youneverarrived Sounds fascinating. I ordered it a few weeks ago, hoping it arrives soon! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Here's what happens when you haven't bought books in awhile, and you go online to buy the next book for the #NYRB Book Club.

vivastory Nice! Looking forward to your thoughts on them 2y
MicheleinPhilly This is why I‘ve stopped trying to do book buying bans. Because when I inevitably fail 3 weeks in, I go whole hog and spend way too much money. 2y
LeahBergen 😆😆 I love your loss of control! 2y
BarbaraBB That is a great haul! 😍 2y
bnp What an interesting mix! 🧵✴️❣️ 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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vivastory @Liz_M Fixed it. Thanks 👍 2y
BarbaraBB I‘ll be there! 2y
Sapphire Your selections look amazing. I would like to read along with you all. 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Started the #NYRBbookclub pick last night. Took a bit to get oriented but then ended up reading til 1 am. Why is fighting amongst academics and intellectuals so entertaining? Hopefully I'm not the only one who feels this way. 😅
It's reads like a meaty New Yorker article, which is what it was before becoming a book. And it does feel outside of our usual purview so will be interested to see where we land with it. @vivastory

BarbaraBB Sounds very promising! 2y
readordierachel I'm very intrigued! Still tracking down a copy 2y
batsy I enjoy academic drama so really looking forward to this! 2y
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Centique I enjoy that whole college/academic staff setting too. I don‘t know why because I can‘t remember being at all interested in that when I was at University. 😂😂 2y
merelybookish @Centique @batsy @Centique I think how there can be such a gap between their education and the way that they behave! 2y
merelybookish @Centique @batsy @Centique I think how there can be such a gap between their education and the way that they behave! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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#WishesAndBlessings Day 30: A #feast of all things peppermint bark - drink is rum chata with peppermint bark, inspired by @vivastory ‘s earlier post. Plus #NYRBBookClub January 2022 pick.

Eggs Lovely 🥃🍫😋 2y
BookBabe Beautiful photo! So inviting. 😃 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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So happy to have visited Green Apple bookstore in San Francisco yesterday, and look at these #NYRBBookClub potential titles. Sadly, they don‘t have our January book title tagged here. 😭😭😭

vivastory I would go broke!! 💲📚 2y
batsy Wow 😍 2y
BiblioLitten Everything looks so inviting! Sigh🥲 2y
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BarbaraBB Wow! Did you buy any? 2y
GatheringBooks @BarbaraBB i bought the discounted ones - worth only 9 usd. And quite a few Europa Editions too that are on sale. I love their marked-down-priced books. 2y
BarbaraBB Lucky you! I hope you‘ll share a picture! 2y
Leftcoastzen Green Apple is a treasure trove! New, used, sale books , & rare! (edited) 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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With the majority of the votes Janet Malcolm's In the Freud Archives will be the #NYRBBookClub January selection. Join @merelybookish & I in the new year as we read & discuss Malcolm's story of "infatuation and disappointment, betrayal and revenge". I have heard great things about Malcolm's work & it looks like it'll make for an interesting discussion!

LeahBergen 👍🏻 2y
merelybookish I am excited to read some Malcolm too! But I didnt think anyone else would want to read this. 😁 2y
batsy I'm looking forward to reading Malcolm, as well. I've enjoyed a lot of the essays I've come across. Her New Yorker piece on the Gossip Girl novels still stands out! 2y
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Nothing like cold weather, snuggling up with a book, and having a slow morning. #nyrb #coffee