Jeffrey Masson and Freud's seduction theory: a new fable based on old myths

  title={Jeffrey Masson and Freud's seduction theory: a new fable based on old myths},
  author={Allen Esterson},
  journal={History of the Human Sciences},
  pages={1 - 21}
  • A. Esterson
  • Published 1 February 1998
  • Psychology
  • History of the Human Sciences
Jeffrey Masson's version of the seduction theory episode in Freud's early career, as presented in The Assault on Truth (1984), is very plaus ible as a revised account of the traditional story. However, close examination of the seduction theory papers and of other contemporary documents reveals that Freud's later reports of the episode, the foun dation on which Masson builds his case, are false. Some purported his torical events that Masson uses to buttress his case are also shown to be without… 

The myth of Freud's ostracism by the medical community in 1896-1905: Jeffrey Masson's assault on the truth.

It is concluded that there is abundant evidence that refutes Masson's version of events, and that he has ignored the historical research that demonstrates that the notion that Freud's early psychoanalytic writings received an irrationally hostile reception is a myth.

The mythologizing of psychoanalytic history: deception and self-deception in Freud's accounts of the seduction theory episode

The retrospective accounts are analyzed in considerable detail to illuminate the means by which Freud succeeded in obscuring what actually happened with his patients in the period in question, and the reasons for his doing so.

Misconceptions about Freud's seduction theory: comment on Gleaves and Hernandez (1999).

In this article an outline of the case that Freud had no adequate grounds for his 1896 claims of having uncovered infantile "sexual scenes" is given.

Did Freud Mislead Patients to Confabulate Memories of Abuse? A Reply to Gleaves and Hernandez (1999)

The weight of the available evidence indicates that false memories of traumatic events probably can be implanted, and that Freud's original evidence for the validity of his patients' recovered memories remains lacking in several respects—particularly in view of the extremely suggestive procedures he often used to elicit such memories.

Freud's Seduction Theory and its Rehabilitation: A Saga of one Mistake after Another

It is argued that Freud's seduction theory was so manifestly false that it was unlikely that his contemporaries would accept it or that he would retain it for very long. It is further argued that the

Wethinks the author doth protest too much: a reply to Esterson (2002).

A Esterson (2002) responded to the authors' analysis of recent reformulations of Freud's seduction theory and alleged sexual abuse discoveries. Esterson gave several additional examples of the same

Refitting fantasy: psychoanalysis, subjectivity, and talking to the dead

This essay works toward an integration of psychoanalysis and rhetorical theory in response to the poststructural critique of mediation. I argue that the concept of communication, usually understood

Sigmund Freud and hysteria: the etiology of psychoanalysis?

Sigmund Freud developed with Breuer a theory of hysteria which encompassed a mixture of Janet's 'fixed subconscious ideas' with the 'pathological secret' concept of Moriz Benedikt and developed the concept of conversion of psychological problems into somatic manifestations, with a strong 'sexualization' of hysteria.

The unified theory of repression

  • M. Erdelyi
  • Psychology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 2006
It has now become clear, as clinicians had claimed, that the inaccessible materials are often available and emerge indirectly (e.g., procedurally, implicitly).



Maelzel's Chess Player: Sigmund Freud and the Rhetoric of Deceit

This is the first study of Freud's texts to incorporate the intellectual findings of Adolf Grunbaum, the archival material published by Jeffrey Masson (the recently published correspondence between

Freud's expectations and the childhood seduction theory

It is argued that when Freud used his various adaptations of Breuer's cathartic method, he was mistaken in believing that his expectations did not provide the primary guidance for the recollections

The assault on truth. Freud's suppression of the seduction theory

that data from the Lamarckian phrenologist H. C. Watson, rationalizing this on the grounds that Watson had uncovered transcendentally true facts that were now free for the taking (p. 180). This,

Fact and Fantasy in the Seduction Theory: A Historical Review

  • J. Schimek
  • Psychology
    Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
  • 1987
It is concluded that the seduction theory had never been based on the patients' direct statements and conscious recall of seduction by the father in early childhood—unlike what Freud was to stale much later (1933).

Did Freud Mislead Patients to Confabulate Memories of Abuse?

Close examination of Freud's writings, however, shows that he had often used highly suggestive procedures to elicit the memories of childhood “seductions” from his patients.

Seductive Mirage: An Exploration of the Work of Sigmund Freud

Book jacket/back: Although it is now widely held that the scientific basis for Sigmund Freud's theories is decidedly wobby, and his surmises often appear woefully incomplete at best, there yet

Historicizing Psychoanalysis: Freud in His Time and for Our Time

  • J. Toews
  • Psychology, Art
    The Journal of Modern History
  • 1991
Peter Gay's massive new biography of Freud is subtitled: "A Life for Our Time." Although Gay does not discuss the intended meaning of the subtitle, even a casual reader of his text will soon become

Freud: biologist of the mind

This book does provide a useful collection of testimonies to its main, true but not new, thesis: that the traditional view of woman as inferior to man in nearly every respect survived, with very few dissenting voices, until the early seventeenth century.

Freud without hindsight: reviews of his work, 1893–1939

NORMAN KIELL, Freud without hindsight: reviews of his work, 1893-1939, Madison, Conn., International Universities Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. xvii, 758, $65.00. The history of the reception of Freud's work

The seduction theory

In 1896 Freud presented a theory about hysteria which is generally known as the seduction theory. According to the ’seduction theory’, hysterical patients suffer from long-term effects of sexual