Freud's Mexico is a completely unexpected contribution to Freud studies. Here, Rubén Gallo reveals Freud's previously undisclosed connections to a culture and a psychoanalytic tradition not often associated with him. Freud found a receptive audience among Mexican intellectuals, read Mexican books, collected Mexican antiquities, and dreamed Mexican dreams; his writings bear the traces of a longstanding fascination with the country.
In the Mexico of the 1920s and 1930s, Freud made an impact not only among psychiatrists but also in literary, artistic, and political circles. Gallo writes about a "motley crew" of Freud's readers who devised some of the most original, elaborate, and influential applications of psychoanalytic theory anywhere in the world: the poet Salvador Novo, a gay dandy who used Freud to vindicate marginal sexual identities; the conservative philosopher Samuel Ramos, who diagnosed the collective neuroses afflicting his country; the cosmopolitan poet Octavio Paz, who launched a psychoanalytic inquiry into the origins of Mexican history; and Gregorio Lemercier, a Benedictine monk who put his entire monastery into psychoanalysis.
After describing Mexico's Freud, Gallo offers an imaginative reconstruction of Freud's Mexico. Although Freud himself never visited Mexico, he owned a treatise on criminal law by a Mexican judge who put defendants—including Trotsky's assassin—on the psychoanalyst's couch; he acquired Mexican pieces as part of his celebrated collection of antiquities; and he recorded dreams of a Mexico that was fraught with danger. Freud's Mexico features a varied cast of characters that includes Maximilian von Hapsburg, Leon Trotsky and his assassin Ramón Mercader, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera—and even David Rockefeller. Gallo offers bold and vivid rereadings of both Freudian texts and Mexican cultural history.
About the Author
Rubén Gallo is Director of the Program in Latin American Studies and Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures at Princeton University. He is the author of Mexican Modernity: The Avant-Garde and the Technological Revolution (MIT Press, 2005).
“In addition to being mind-stretching reading, this book is also visually rich and beautifully produced.” — John Dorfman, Art & Antiques
"Freud's Mexico is a scintillating and enthralling contribution to the story of the dissemination of psychoanalysis across the globe that also reveals a hidden web of secret connections with the New at the heart of Freud's Old World invention of psychoanalysis. The cast of characters who populate this nest of stories include a gay aesthete admirer of Freud and of macho chauffeurs, a Mexican judge turned amateur psychoanalyst, and a Belgian monastery prior who conducted an experiment in the psychoanalysis of his monks in a Mexican town that became a hub of revolutionary invention in the 1960s. The scholarship is inevitably multilingual and virtuosic, the detective work brilliant and successful, the cultural criticism astute and generous. Gallo's discovery of the psychoanalytic Mexico reveals a place we never even dreamed existed."
John Forrester, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
"Inspired by Freud, the protagonists of this book get up to some crazy stuff in Mexico. A poet seduces scores of chauffeurs; an artist paints the god of Moses; a monk places his monastery in group therapy; a judge subjects an assassin to psychoanalysis. Even Freud speaks Spanish and sounds incredibly fresh in this rich, ironic, and revelatory book."
Alexander Etkind, Cambridge University
2011 Gradiva Award, presented by the World Organization and Public Education Corporation of The National Association of the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.
Winning entry, Scholarly Illustrated Category, 2011 AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show