Life Against Death

The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History

Norman O. Brown

Freudian theory was a boring and/or objectionable mire to me until I read Brown. He takes Freud, rejects Reich and Jung, and heads fearlessly into intellectual spaces that quiver with the onset of mystical breakthrough. Rarely discussed these days, Brown’s work was highly influential in the ’60s; Jim Morrison admired it greatly, and it’s hard not to divine its influence in the Oedipal violence of ‘The End’ and his Dionysian advocacy. Some of it is dated, and some will be hard-going if you’re not geared up to follow the twists and turns of his trip through Freud’s thought. But it rewards careful reading richly, and provides a gushing fountain of new ideas.