The saturation of the English-speaking world with psychoanalytic concepts was due largely to one brilliant analyst, Ernest Jones. As Freud's disciple, colleague, and biographer-and the man who rescued Freud from the Nazis-he led the international psychoanalytic movement, shifting its vortex from Vienna to London and spreading its influence to Toronto, New York, and Boston. While negotiating the ferocious politics of the movement, Jones also managed an imposing series of liaisons, including an heiress and her maid, analysands, and a “Druid Bride.” Unlike Freud, he never had to wonder, “What do women want?”
In writing the life of the man who established psychoanalysis in Britain, veteran biographer Maddox (Nora: The Real Molly Bloom) gives an equally fascinating (if more familiar) picture of the early world of psychoanalysis, with its conflicting egos and theoretical battles, particularly between strict Freudians and the followers of Melanie Klein, which fiercely divided the English psychoanalytic society founded and ruled over by Ernest Jones. Maddox frames Jones's life as the story of a man whose enormous gifts finally allowed him to triumph over early disgrace. A Welshman who'd shown brilliance as a medical student, Jones (1879 1958) had to leave England in 1908 after accusations of sexual impropriety while examining several youngsters; Maddox finds the evidence in one case "damning." But Jones returned two years later to practice psychoanalysis and advocate tirelessly for it, soon becoming a member of Freud's inner circle. While one wishes for a bit more insight, Maddox wisely refrains from psychoanalyzing Jones, who took full advantage of his ability to mesmerize women before finally settling into a happy marriage, and his alternately affectionate and irritable relationship with his mentor (Jones at one point accused Freud's daughter, Anna, of being "insufficiently analyzed"; Freud in turn called Jones a lying Welshman). Perhaps Jones's greatest moment was in saving Freud and many other Jewish psychoanalysts from the Nazis. Maddox adds an important chapter to the history of psychoanalysis in this balanced and skillful biography.