You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

March 28: Jeffrey Masson and the Emotional Lives of Animals

March 27, 2016

jeffJeffrey Masson, a psychoanalyst and writer who first made his reputation by suggesting that Sigmund Freud had turned away from the reality of sexual abuse in the life experiences of his female patients (The Assault on Truth, 1984), was born to mystical Jews, devotees of a theosophist guru, on this date in 1941. Masson went on to become a bestselling author on the sentience of animals. His best-known book is When Elephants Weep (1995); others include Dogs Never Lie About Love (1999), The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals (2003); Raising the Peaceable Kingdom: What Animals Can Teach Us about the Social Origins of Tolerance and Friendship (2005) and The Face on Your Plate: The Truth about Food (2009; Masson is a vegan). He holds a Ph.D. in Sanskrit from Harvard University and trained as a Freudian analyst at the University of Toronto. In 1980 he became project director of the Sigmund Freud Archives, and his firing two years later led Janet Malcolm to cultivate a friendship with him while writing a lengthy New Yorker article that resulted in Masson’s suing her for libel — an infamous suit that he initially won but ultimately lost. He lives today in New Zealand and is an animal rights activist.

Malcolm’s “twisted, distorted portrait has become the story of my life.” —Jeffrey Masson