Comments: 16
Where is the volume break between vols. 1 and 2 in the edition you have? (Just asking to be able to double check with the edition I own ... in case I'll end up confronting the same choice.)
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Both my pb and audio editions contain both volumes/books - the pb (Parshley translation) calls them "books", the audiobook refers to "volumes".
The Book 2 starts on page 293 (of 741).
OK, thanks. My (French: "Folio Essais") edition has a different pagination (vol. 1 = 408 p., vol. 2 = 663 p.) -- the volume break is after chapter III of Part III, "Myth(e)s"; so the first section in volume 2 is "Formation". Does that correspond with the breakup of the translations?
BrokenTune 2 years ago
It does. The first part in Vol. 2 is translated as "Formative Years".
Thanks again. So from the table of contents it seems that -- roughly -- vol. / book 1 is chiefly critical historical and literary / philosophical interpretation; vol. / book 2 is sociology?
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Yes, that describes it, except that Book 2 is playing fast and loose with the term "sociology". She basically retells anecdotes found in 2 or 3 main books written by psychologists - tho most of these seem to be taken from a book called "La femme frigide" by Wilhelm Stekel ... which has caused me many a time to ask why she didn't just copy Stekel's text in its entirety. Also, ... prepare for a lot of eye-rolling.
This is also one of my main complaints about the book. She seems to try to prove her theories by citing anecdotes that Stekel seems to have encountered as cases of "abnormality" (for want of a better word). With respect to a sociological approach, I would expect there to be some discussion of how these cases compare with other research or, well, the rest of the population.
I.e. the attempt to prove something true for all by applying her theories (or Stekel's for that matter) to only a limited number of cases - and such which have been presented as "outliers" - feel entirely unconvincing to me.

Mind you, it's the approach she takes that annoys me, not the fact that she didn't include more research. After all, there probably was not a lot of research available that would have been useful for her topics.
Going by the experiment referenced by Manny Rayner in his review of book 2, she also seems to be relying on her personal prejudice in quite a number of instances -- only to have been proven wrong by scientific experiment in the interim:
BrokenTune 2 years ago
I would agree with that perception about dB relying on her personal prejudices as indicated by the lack of references. Again, this is mostly a Vol 2 issue for me.
Got it, that's why I wanted to double check whether the volume breaks are the same in all editions.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Of all the ideas I had about the book before starting to read it, I would not have expected it to be such a book of two halves.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Have you read any of her other books?
Individual essays, but none of her books -- though several of them have (surprise, surprise) been sitting on my TBR for a minor eternity. Oddly, the impression I gained from the essays mirrors your experience with this book -- she's stellar when it comes to straight philosophical analysis and criticism, but things start to wobble as soon as she lets her personal prejudice / experience get in the way and leaves the realm of philosophy and literary criticism behind.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Hm. Good to know that it's the same in at least some of her other work, too.
Or not so good ...
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Well, it helps to manage expectations. ;)
True. Even if that has meant, in my case, that her "full" books have so far been languishing on my TBR ...